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Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 aug 2018

The possibility of eco-friendly biodegradable paper-based batteries is now made a reality by the scientists at Binghampton University (SUNY), Prof. Seokheun 'Sean' Choi from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Prof. Omowunmi Sadik from the Chemistry Department. Their research titled 'Green Biobatteries: Hybrid Paper-Polymer Microbial Fuel Cells' was recently published in Advanced Sustainable Systems. Prof. Choi engineered the design of the paper-based battery, while Prof. Sadik was able to make the battery a self-sustaining biobattery. The biobattery uses a hybrid of paper and engineered polymers. The polymers - poly (amic) acid and poly (pyromellitic dianhydride-p-phenylenediamine) - were the key to giving the batteries biodegrading properties. Prof. Choi says, 'There's been a dramatic increase in electronic waste and this may be an excellent way to start reducing that. Our hybrid paper battery exhibited a much higher power-to-cost ratio than all previously reported paper-based microbial batteries. The polymer-paper structures are lightweight, low-cost and flexible. Power enhancement can be potentially achieved by simply folding or stacking the hybrid, flexible paper-polymer devices.' Read on...

BingU News: SCIENTISTS CREATE BIODEGRADABLE, PAPER-BASED BIOBATTERIES
Author: Rachael Flores


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2018

Nonprofits have to take the cue from their for-profit counterparts for successful implementation of marketing and technology oriented strategy implementations. Content marketing is now a mature field both in B2B and B2C aspects of business. Best practices are available. Gloria Horsley, founder of Open to Hope Foundation, explains the value of effective content for nonprofit organizations to educate, inform and engage with donors, volunteers and those the nonprofits intend to support and help. She shares her mistakes in content marketing in nonprofit realm and the learning from these experiences - (1) Transferring Existing Print Content Online: Offline content is outward-facing and telling rather than sharing or interactive; Written for entire audience and not personalized for specific segments; Online content need to be written in a way to engage audience; Interactive for audience to share their opinions; Utilizes story telling and visual content. (2) Delivering Content That Lacks Educational Value: Merely information and facts are not always valuable content; Specific content that educate different audiences is more valuable; Produce content that answers specific questions; Educational content attracts more supporters, donors and volunteers. (3) Letting Volunteers Run With It: Giving too much control to volunteers for content development risks consistency and integrity; They may create content that is not fully compliant with regulations; Specific rules and guidelines for content must be laid out; Templates and formats must be shared with temporary workers and volunteers; Provide volunteers access to content management system where content is checked and approved before being published. (4) Failing To Focus On High-Quality Writing: Emotion-based writing may not always be the best quality writing; Long sentences, grammatical mistakes, passive voice use etc leads to content exhaustion where audience lose interest; Use online tools like WordPress and Grammarly for appropriate writing; Professional writing techniques need to be adopted. Read on...

Forbes: Four Nonprofit Content Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them
Author: Gloria Horsley


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 aug 2018

Apparel production is generally linked to environmental issues like water and air pollution, alongwith the land, water and pesticide use related to growing natural fibers. But now research points at the source of another problem created by apparels made wholly or partially from synthetic textiles. Microfibers, a type of microplastic, are shed during normal use and laundering, and remain in the environment similar to plastic packaging that coats so many of the world's beaches, and they bond to chemical pollutants in the environment, such as DDT and PCB. Moreover, the textiles from which they are shed are often treated with waterproofing agents, stain- or fire-resistant chemicals or synthetic dyes that could be harmful to organisms that ingest them. Also, microfibers are being consumed alongwith food and drink. Research review (Microplastics in air: Are we breathing it in? - Johnny Gasperi, Stephanie L. Wright, Rachid Dris, France Collard, Corinne Mandin, Mohamed Guerrouache, Valérie Langlois, Frank J.Kelly, Bruno Tassin) published last year shows that microfibers suspended in air are possibly settling in human lungs. Research led by Richard C. Thompson from the University of Plymouth (UK) in 2004 (Lost at Sea: Where Is All the Plastic? - Richard C. Thompson, Ylva Olsen, Richard P. Mitchell, Anthony Davis, Steven J. Rowland, Anthony W. G. John, Daniel McGonigle, Andrea E. Russell) documented and quantified the occurrence of microplastics in the marine environment. Research by Mark Anthony Browne, one of Prof. Thompson's graduate student, published in 2011 (Accumulation of Microplastic on Shorelines Woldwide: Sources and Sinks - Mark Anthony Browne, Phillip Crump, Stewart J. Niven, Emma Teuten, Andrew Tonkin, Tamara Galloway, Richard Thompson) found - (1) Samples taken near wastewater disposal sites had 250% more microplastic than those from reference sites and the types of microplastic fibers found in those samples were mainly polymers often used in synthetic apparel, suggesting the fibers were eluding filters in wastewater treatment plants and being released with treated effluent (which is released into rivers, lakes or ocean water). (2) A single polyester fleece jacket could shed as many as 1900 of these tiny fibers each time it was washed. Another 2016 study by researchers from UC Santa Barbara in US (Microfiber Masses Recovered from Conventional Machine Washing of New or Aged Garments - Niko L. Hartline, Nicholas J. Bruce, Stephanie N. Karba, Elizabeth O. Ruff, Shreya U. Sonar, Patricia A. Holden) has shown far higher numbers - 250000 fibers. Rosalia Project, a nonprofit focused on ocean protection, led a study of microfiber pollution across an entire watershed (from the mouth of Hudson River all the way to where the river meets the Atlantic in Manhattan). Rachael Z. Miller, group's director, was surprised to find that, outside of samples taken near treatment plants, there was no statistically significant difference in the concentration fibers from the alpine region to the agricultural center of New York state to the high population areas of Manhattan and New Jersey. This suggested to her that fibers might be entering surface waters from the air and from septic system drainfields in rural areas without municipal sewage systems. According to Textile World, demand for polyester has grown faster than demand for wool, cotton and other fibers for at least 20 years. And by 2030 synthetics are expected to account for 75% of global apparel fiber production, or 107 million tons. All textiles, including carpeting and upholstery, produce microfibers. So do commercial fishing nets. But due to the frequency with which apparel is laundered and the increasing quantities of clothing being purchased throughout the world (thanks at least in part to the so-called fast fashion trend), apparel is the microfiber source on which researchers and policy-makers are focusing attention. Krystle Moody, a textile industry consultant, says, 'Outdoor gear is heavily reliant on synthetic textiles due to their performance profile (moisture wicking) and durability.' Jeffrey Silberman, professor and chairperson of textile development and marketing with the Fashion Institute of Technology at the State University of New York, says, 'Price is the big driver behind the use of synthetics in textiles. A poly-cotton blend is generally far cheaper than a cotton one, but doesn’t look or feel appreciably different to most consumers. The motivation is to get natural-like fibers and still be able to get a price point that people are willing to pay.' Katy Stevens, sustainability project manager for the outdoor gear industry consortium European Outdoor Group (EOG), says, 'Initial research suggested that recycled polyester might shed more microfibers. Are we doing the right thing by using recycled polyester that might shed more? It has added a whole other big question mark.' Other studies have found microfibers in effluent from wastewater plants (Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW) as a Source of Microplastics in the Aquatic Environment - Fionn Murphy, Ciaran Ewins, Frederic Carbonnier, Brian Quinn), in the digestive tracts of market fish (Ingested plastic transfers hazardous chemicals to fish and induces hepatic stress - Chelsea M. Rochman, Eunha Hoh, Tomofumi Kurobe, Swee J. Teh), throughout riversheds (Mountains to the sea: River study of plastic and non-plastic microfiber pollution in the northeast USA - Rachael Z. Miller, Andrew J. R. Watts, Brooke O. Winslow, Tamara S.Galloway, Abigail P. W. Barrows) and in air samples. Two separate studies released in March 2018 revealed that microfibers are found in bottled water sold all over the world. And a study published weeks later revealed that microplastic - chiefly microfibers - were present in 159 samples of tap water from around the word, a dozen brands of beer (made with Great Lakes water) as well as sea salt, also derived globally. Although most research has focused on synthetics textiles, but Abigail P. W. Barrows, an independent microplastics researcher who has conducted numerous studies on microfibers, says, 'Natural fibers such as cotton and wool, and semi-synthetics such as rayon should not be totally ignored. While they will degrade more quickly than, say, polyester, they may still be treated with chemicals of concern that can move up the food chain if the fibers are consumed before they degrade.' The study she led in 2018 (Marine environment microfiber contamination: Global patterns and the diversity of microparticle origins - Abigail P. W. Barrows, Sara E. Kathey, C. W. Petersen) found that in the surface water samples collected globally while 91% of the particles collected were microfibers, 12% of those were semi-synthetic and 31% were natural. Read on...

GreenBiz: Why are our clothes so bad for the environment?
Author: Mary Catherine O'Connor


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jul 2018

Collaborative partnerships between local government, community, nonprofit organizations, academia and businesses can do wonders to enhance the various aspects of localities, cities and regions. An old factory site being rehabilitated as a business park in Lackawanna (New York, USA) is an example of sustainable redevelopment and the impact a local government can have on climate change. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Deputy Executive Maria Whyte and others officials visited Conrnell Universuty campus and discussed the redevelopment project with faculty and shared county initiatives focused on sustainability and economic growth, quality of life and building strong communities. Mr. Poloncarz says, 'Strong partnerships and sustainable practices are essential to progress, giving more people a say in their community and making responsible use of our resources to effect change that benefits generations yet to come.' Basil Safi, Executive Director of the Office of Engagement Initiatives at Cornell, says, 'The event was organized as a launching point to further community-engaged research and learning collaborations with Erie County', seeding ideas for potential projects involving Cornell students and faculty.' Initiatives for a Smart Economy (I4SE) is an economic development strategy Erie County enacted in 2013 and updated last year as I4SE 2.0. It contains 71 initiatives and is focused on inclusion and creating shared opportunities for all residents, to address persistent poverty and underemployment. Max Zhang, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Cornell, says, 'I can envision that students team up with community partners to address specific challenges they are facing.' Rebecca Brenner, a lecturer at the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, began a project in spring 2017 in Buffalo (NY) on improving communications during an emergency for that city's diverse, multilingual refugee population, and creating an emergency notification plan with nonprofit resettlement agencies as community partners. Erie County has about 300 current strategic initiatives led by county departments with community partners. They include fostering hiring of disadvantaged residents in high-poverty areas for construction jobs amid Buffalo's building boom; exploring the feasibility of a new convention center to spur tourism; creating an agribusiness park in rural southern Erie County; supporting health and human services agencies and energy programs targeting low-income households; and infrastructure and environmental remediation in county parks. Shorna Allred, associate professor of natural resources at Cornell, says, 'I was quite impressed and intrigued by what they are doing in Buffalo...We are similarly trying to bring together a partnership of people to work on sustainability issues across the city...' Read on...

Cornell Chronicle: Sustainable economic strategies spur engaged research interest
Author: Daniel Aloi


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jun 2018

Food waste is a global concern and innovative solutions are needed to overcome it. Recent data from National Resources Defense Council found that the average American throws out 400 pounds of food a year, meaning that up to 40% of food grown on the farm bypasses the fork and ends up in a landfill. Globally, impact of food waste can be seen in terms of lost resources, wasted water (70% of fresh water is consumed in agriculture), increased levels of climate-change-producing gases, and diverted food that could contribute to alleviating hunger. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) - It is estimated that annually over 60 trillion gallons of water are used to grow food that is ultimately wasted; Roughly 1/3 of the food produced for human consumption every year - approximately 1.3 billion tons - gets lost or wasted, representing nearly US$1 trillion. The cost of producing, harvesting, transporting, and disposing of this food isn't just financial - food waste accounts for about 8% of global climate pollution, more than the nations of India or Russia. According to one report, food waste throughout the US accounts for more than 60 million tons of waste, which translates into US$ 160 billion of produce and, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), represents over 21% of all waste in landfills. Adequate government policy alongwith solutions from for-profit and nonprofit sectors can successfully tackle this challenge. Sherri Welch, writing in Crain's Detroit, highlights two food-box subscription companies that sell produce and other food that retailers won't touch in the Detroit market. One is the Baltimore-based Hungry Harvest; the other is Toronto-based Flash Food. They are both for-profit companies. Denver's We Don't Waste is a nonprofit working on similar lines. Other nonprofits are working with hunger relief organizations and give their customers the option to buy a box of imperfect produce and donate it to a family in need. Phillip Knight, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan, says, 'At this point, I think we are all working together to feed hungry neighbors, reduce waste and lessen the impact on the environment.' Other solutions include processing food waste as bioenergy. In the Pacific Northwest, Impact Bioenergy develops and manufactures bioenergy products that allow communities and commercial food waste generators to lessen their environmental footprint and conserve local soil resources while also reducing their waste disposal and energy costs. Policy approaches can also play an important role to shift the amount of food entering the waste stream. A May 2017 paper published by Harvard Law School's Food Law and Policy Clinic looks at the 2018 Farm Bill as a portal for changing the national conversation on food waste by integrating strategies and initiatives to support diversion efforts. Policy is a major focus on ReFed, one of the nation's leading nonprofits dedicated to addressing food waste. One of their initiatives in partnership with the Food Law and Policy Clinic is the US Food Waste Policy Finder, a tool that provides research on current food waste policy. Another promising approach is to incorporate the reuse of food that has been rejected by the conventional market into social enterprises. DC Central Kitchen is a job-training catering social enterprise that buys food seconds from farmers and uses that produce in the meals it serves to students in schools and catering event guests, even as the nonprofit also addresses the cycle of hunger. According to ReFed's 'Roadmap to Reduce US Food Waste by 20 Percent', an estimated 15000 permanent jobs could be created through policy initiatives alone. 'Wasted! The Story of Food Waste', a documentary produced by the late Anthony Bourdain, offer a glimpse of ways that nonprofits can expand their missions and collaborate with others to reduce food waste while improving the health and well-being of those in need. Read on...

Nonprofit Quarterly: For-Profit and Nonprofit Firms Devise Creative Ways to Reduce Food Waste
Author: Derrick Rhayn


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jul 2017

2017 'Consumer Email Habits Report: What Do Your Customers Really Want', a study of 1003 online respondents commissioned by Campaign Monitor and conducted by Market Cube, finds that nonprofit email marketers are lagging behind peers, and the preferences of constituencies, in their ability to provide personalized, relevant messaging. 81% of consumers in the report want touches of personalization in emails they receive from nonprofits. In terms of relevancy of emails to supporters and potential supporters, nonprofits lag behind substantially with only 42% respondents stating that they regularly receive relevant emails. Andrea Wildt, chief marketing officer for Campaign Monitor, says, 'Email personalization can be based on either personal demographics or behavior - how an individual is interacting with an organization...personally relevant emails resonate better with recipients - building a trust that is sometimes hard to foster when recipients are bombarded with so many contacts from so many senders.' According to Ms. Wildt, 'Nonprofits struggle to provide personally relevant emails due to overall lack of ability to capture data and use that data to segment. Resources available to nonprofits are often far more modest than those of retailers.' Further complicating matters for nonprofits is the disparate ways various age groups interact with emailed material. Ms. Wildt suggests, 'Nonprofits must take a multi-pronged approach to marketing (using different tactics/strategies/technologies to target specific age groups)...They are just not quite as mature at leveraging some of the technology. There is so much noise that nonprofits really need help cutting through. The competition for donors' wallets is still fierce.' Read on...

The NonProfit Times: Marketers Not Giving Consumers What They Want
Author: Andy Segedin


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jul 2017

Richard J. Weller, professor of landscape architecture at University of Pennsylvania, and team of academics have created an online project called 'Atlas for the End of the World', a collection of maps and graphics to help viewers see where and how urbanization is in conflict with biodiversity. According to Prof. Weller, 'We mapped that interface between urban growth and the world's most valuable diversity...That conflict is bloody, it's disastrous, it's happening all over the world.' The project is an answer to Ortelius's 'Theatrum Orbis Terrarum' (Theatre of the World), printed in 1570 and thought to be the first modern atlas. Prof. Weller hopes that by 'mapping the intricacies of ecological conflict...architects, designers, and others can help create more ecologically sustainable relations between people and the planet.' Read on...

Nonprofit Quarterly: Data Activists Map the World's Ecological Conflict
Author: Cyndi Suarez


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 may 2017

Volunteering for a charitable cause is not only a popular way to give back to society, but it also helps individuals to hone their skills and add to their experiences. There are number of platforms, both online and offline, like United Way, Points of Light, VolunteerMatch etc, that can assist in finding the right cause to volunteer. According to Basil Sadiq, marketing associate at VolunteerMatch, 'Our platform gives volunteers the ability to search for opportunities that adhere to their skill level or learning outcomes.' Following are some innovative ways to volunteer - (1) Strut your stuff: Volunteer for a community theater production; Share music with hospital patients; Share your voice with the community by giving tours; Interpreting exhibits at a local museum or zoo; Share your voice that can help people who use assistive communication technology. (2) Plan a party: Help in birthday celebrations to homeless kids and families; Contribute for hospice agencies and senior centers that plan events. (3) Get crafty: Knit and sew for those in need. (4) Make very special deliveries: Bikers can participate in logistics service for a charity. (5) Build and rebuild: Help veterans to build and maintain homes; Build and improve parks and playgrounds for kids. (6) Create Code: Address community problems with technological solutions; Write code and develop website for a cause; Help raise money for charitable causes by participating in computer games events. (7) Volunteer virtually: Blogging; Language translation; Virtual interaction with people in trauma and offer relief. (8) Hike or climb for a higher cause: Keeping and maintaining trails; Add service to a hiking vacation; Helping with outdoor adventures. (9) Help a pet get to a new home: Transport a rescued pet. Read on...

Reader's Digest: 9 Creative Ways to Volunteer and Really Make a Difference
Author: Catherine Holecko


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 dec 2016

According to the recent report by Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), 'Impact Investing Trends: Evidence of a Growing Industry' (Authors: Abhilash Mudaliar, Aliana Pineiro, Rachel Bass), impact investors have demonstrated strong growth, collectively increasing their assets under management (AUM) from US$ 25.4 billion in 2013 to US$ 35.5 billion in 2015, a compound annual growth rate of 18%. The report provides compelling evidence that impact investing industry is growing, both in terms of size and maturation. More than 60% of AUM was allocated to emerging markets each year, and the top three sectors receiving the highest proportions of AUM were microfinance, other financial services and energy, respectively. Read on...

The NonProfit Times: Assets Under Management Grew For Impact Investing
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 nov 2016

Philanthropic giving continued to thrive in US and exceeded US$ 373 billion in 2015. Educational institutions got 12.86% (US$ 48 billion) of the total. As public funding to education gets reduced, colleges and universities are realigning strategic objectives and development goals to suit the funding priorities for donors and organizations. Donors have their own criteria to determine the funding goals that make an impact. According to Charles Koch, businessman and philanthropist, 'It is simply identifying organizations which want to make life better by empowering free will and enterprise. I decided that I wanted to give as many people as possible ideas so that they could transform their lives. That's been my motivation.' Michael Lomax, President and CEO of UNCF.org, recently shared his views on the potential for social modeling between UNCF and Charles Koch Foundation, and their US$ 29 million partnership for tuition assistance and career development. He says, 'The success of this program lies in our shared vision that a mind - and a life - is a terrible thing to waste. It is why our partnership's ultimate goal is to give students the opportunity to explore the values and skills of an entrepreneur, and better understand how an entrepreneurial mindset will benefit both them and their communities.' Nicholas Perkins, Founder and CEO of Perkins Management Services Inc, explains about his support to Howard University, 'Anytime that a minority company has an opportunity to partner with an historically black institution, that partnership should be the base from which growth and progress for that particular campus comes. So we always try to fit ourselves into that puzzle.' Educational institutions often find funding success by proactively tapping into the goodwill of graduates and stakeholders. Miami University of Ohio invested a substantial amount from its fundraising campaign towards enhancing academic programming in media studies, writing and gerontology. It launched 'Miami Plan', a 36-credit hour course mandate for all students to be immersed in and appreciative of the impact of liberal arts across all career paths. Gregory Crawford, President of Miami University of Ohio, says, 'For me, people don't expect a physicist to have such a passion for the liberal arts, but it had such a big impact on my life, my leadership style and my interests. I couldn't be more enthusiastic in sharing how it helped me to learn about human flourishing and in thinking more holistically, which was super important to me in the physics world.' He adds, 'Many of our own alums and donors understand the value of the education provided to them, and they love what we're doing with the Miami plan, so they freely invest in that vision.' Read on...

Education Dive: What inspires people, corporations to give to higher education?
Author: Jarrett Carter


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jul 2016

Packaging is an important component of product handling, logistics, advertising, marketing and selling. There are variety of materials that are currently in use for packaging. Environmental challenges arise due to the waste generated through discarded packagings. The packaging industry is exploring better materials that can reduce environmental footprint. In spite of scientific breakthroughs in developing new packaging materials, there are issues related to their performance and price, inhibiting their mass adoption and usage. Bryan Shova, packaging designer and industrial design director at Kaleidoscope, explains sustainability aspects of packaging. He says, 'I dream of the day when material science and manufacturing can deliver on the promise of zero environmental impact, high performance, premium finish and low costs.' He explains, 'The viability of true sustainability is a complex economic challenge, and the ugly truth is that few consumers, brand owners or municipalities are willing to pay the premium price for cutting-edge sustainable packaging solutions. True solutions will come through "systems thinking" that requires the material supplier, manufacturer, retailer, consumer and the municipality to share in the premium costs and labor required to design, collect and recycle packaged materials.' He provides 10 principles for designing sustainable packaging - (1) Start with commodity materials that are commonly recycled. (2) Design the package from a single material. (3) Focus on the product-to-package ratio. (4) Design for assembly at the point of manufacture. (5) Avoid gluing and laminations. (6) Design for distribution. (7) Eliminate secondary and tertiary packaging when possible. (8) Design for disassembly. (9) Clearly mark the materials on the packaging components. (10) Use Lifecycle Assessment. Read on...

Packaging Digest: 10 ways to design sustainable packaging with intent
Author: Bryan Shova


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 jul 2016

Local communities require participation from its members for their better development. Individuals have to be proactive and should make valuable contribution, and work as a team to make a difference. Pawel Alva Nazaruk, social entrepreneur and owner of Better World International, suggest 7 ways to support communities and change neighbourhood - (1) Support Children - They Are Our Future: Support a child or team for a community activity. (2) Build A House - Sweat And Get Dirty: Find opportunities to help build homes for the disadvantaged. (3) Shop In Your Community - Keep Your Money In Your Local Area: According to American Independent Business Association, 48% of each purchase made in your local independent businesses stays in your community. Also helps create more local jobs. (4) Clean Up Your Neighborhood: Start from the area around your home and then organize a community cleaning event. (5) Take Part In Your Local Political Process: Vote for local representatives. Organize around issues of community development and support the best candidate. (6) Support Community Events: Support activities like farmers market and community gardens. Engage in events that create fun and build a healthy environment in community. (7) Be Friendly: Develop better relations with neighbors and other members of the community. Introduce yourself to the new member who joins the community. Be helpful, caring and supportive to members who are in need. Read on...

Huffington Post: 7 Ways To Support Your Community
Authors: Pawel Alva Nazaruk, Ray V. Bennett Jr.


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jun 2016

According to the survey by U.S. Trust (a subsidiary of Bank of America), of 684 high net worth (HNW) individuals, all with investable assets of US$ 3 million or more, there is increasing interest and activity in social impact investing, particularly among women, Millennials and Gen Xers. The survey also found the 7 out of 10 HNW Americans have more confidence in the private sector to solve social and environmental problems than the public or nonprofit sector. Moreover, another 6 in 10 believe that private capital invested in social and public programs can produce superior outcomes, all while ownership and interest in impact investing climb. Jackie VanderBrug, Managing Director of U.S. Trust, says, 'Understanding how and why individuals make impact investments is an increasingly important component of nonprofit management. I think that nonprofit executives that look at impact investing as a trend to be welcomed and embraced are going to be the ones ahead of the curve. Impact investing is not going away. It's fundamentally changing how investments are being made by individuals and fund managers. Understanding that and what it means to your donor base, constituency and board members is an important part of a nonprofit executive's job.' The survey report also finds that, environmental protection and sustainability is the issue that matters most to HNW investors, followed by healthcare equality and access; disease prevention, treatment and cure; access to education; and assistance for veterans. Ms. VanderBrug further adds, 'This is not about confusing philanthropy. Our clients are extremely philanthropic and we don't think that that should stop. My experience is that most individuals who are interested in impact investing are also very philanthropic. They understand that all sectors of the economy need to work.' Read on...

The NonProfit Times: Big Donors Losing Faith In Charity To Solve Problems
Author: Andy Segedin


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 may 2016

A number of studies have strengthened the common belief that being around trees and close to nature improves one's mental and physical well-being. Research by Prof. Bin Jiang of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (now at University of Hong Kong) and his team, further emboldens the belief regarding the soothing aspects of green environment on stress levels and blood pressure. The study was undertaken to determine the dose-response curve between tree cover density and stress recovery. It included 158 volunteers in mildly stressful situations. The experiment utilized virtual reality headset to view 360-degree videos of an urban space with varying amounts of tree canopy visible. Results obtained from the tests showed a positive linear association between the density of trees and the self reported recovery from stress. Prof. Jiang comments, 'These finding suggest that viewing a tree canopy in communities can aid stress recovery and that every tree matters.' Researchers found that regardless of age, gender, and baseline stress levels the greater the exposure to trees, the less stress the subject felt. Read on...

Total Landscape Care: University study - Stress falls as exposure to trees increases
Author: Jill Odom


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 apr 2016

This year's World Health Day, that falls today (07 April 2016), has the theme 'Beat Diabetes!'. The World Health Organization has singled out tackling diabetes as one of the most critical healthcare challenge but at the same time tried to give a strong message that it is not too hard to manage if people can put their thoughts and actions in the right direction. Alex Jones, health economist at the social enterprise Oxford Policy Management and researcher at University of the West Indies, provides historial perspective on how international health organizations and governments over time have developed and implemented different types of policies in tackling global health issues. Sometimes they have utilized a single disease approach and at others they have been more holistic and tried to improve health systems around the world. He further explores two approaches and provides opinion on their long-term benefits. According to him, 'A quick look back through history reveals a disturbingly cyclical pattern: As an international community we've been flip-flopping between the two approaches - vertical and horizontal - for at least the last century.' He explains, 'As far back as the 1920s, the sector saw the growth of what was known as the 'Social Medicine Movement' - based on the consideration that ill health could actually be a consequence of poor social conditions...Throughout the first half of the 20th century the Rockefeller Foundation became one of the most influential organisations in global health, implementing programmes in over 80 countries...it always kept the aim of combating specific diseases through targeted campaigns. Post-war politics saw the creation of a number of international agencies that pursued similar vertical programmes...The failure of the GMEP (WHO's Global Malaria Eradication Project) and the relative success of Mao Zedong's community-led 'Barefoot Doctors' programme in China both helped to swing the global health pendulum towards a more horizontal 'systems' approach. In 1975, the WHO launched its Primary Health Care strategy and in 1978 (after sustained advocacy from the Soviet Union) the famous Alma-Ata conference was held...this was a pledge to build up basic health systems around the world...and heralded the birth of the 'Health for All'...The beginning of the 80's, however, saw the pendulum swing firmly back towards vertical interventions...the last ten years have seen a swing back to the ideals of Alma-Ata and the mantra of putting people - rather than pathogens - front and centre of health initiatives...In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly formally recognised and unanimously endorsed the idea of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).' While explaining the current state of health policy focus and interventions, he comments, 'Given the benefit of hindsight, there's a strong risk that today's current focus on UHC might not survive the constant push towards seemingly more feasible, targeted interventions. This apparently inevitable swing to the vertical, however, misses the point on two key fronts: First, history shows us that morbidities are integrated, both with each other and with our ways of life. Second, when something new comes along, a health sector built around a few target pathogens simply cannot deal with it.' Finally, he suggests, 'Let's continue to focus resources where significant advances in disease eradication are possible, partnering with those who can make this happen - but let's take care not to do this at the expense of overall systems strengthening.' Read on...

The Financial Times: Healthcare for all: A zero-sum game?
Author: Alex Jones


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 03 mar 2016

Harvard University academics, Prof. Mark R. Kramer and Prof. Michael E. Porter, introduced the concept of 'Creating Shared Value (CSV)' in HBR (2011), as an approach that takes into account social problems which intersect with businesses and makes it a major part of the core business strategy of a company. In the context of India the approach is much more relevant as it is still struggling with numerous social issues like poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, health etc. The academics feel that Indian businesses are still missing something in their view of long-term sustainabile business models. While speaking at 'Shared Value Summit 2015' in India, Prof. Kramer said, 'You cannot have a successful business in a failing society...for the CSV model to become a part of corporate hygiene anywhere needs major mindset change where we embrace a problem solving approach that goes beyond thinking what we can do in our company alone to also what we can do for society that we operate in.' He further explains that, 'CSV doesn't replace CSR and philanthropy, but can be in addition to them, such that businesses can find new opportunities for competitive advantage by beginning to think about these social issues as part of their overall corporate strategy.' Read on...

Business Insider: Philanthropy and CSR are fine, but Harvard senior fellow Mark Kramer sees CSV as the way forward for a growing and evolving India
Author: Anushree Singh


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 feb 2016

According to World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution has become the world's biggest environmental risk, linked to over 7 million deaths a year. A global team of scientists (Farid Touati, Claudio Legena, Alessio Galli, Damiano Crescini, Paolo Crescini, Adel Ben Mnaouer) from Canadian University Dubai, Qatar University, and the University of Brescia (Italy), have developed a technology, known as SENNO (Sensor Node), that enables high-efficiency air quality monitoring, to help promote a cleaner environment and reduce the health risks associated with poor atmospheric quality. The technology promises to make air quality monitoring cost-effective. The research paper, 'Environmentally Powered Multiparametric Wireless Sensor Node for Air Quality Diagnostic', was published in Sensors and Materials journal. Prof. Adel Ben Mnaouer of Canadian University Dubai (CUD), says, 'Sensor networks dedicated to atmospheric monitoring can provide an early warning of environmental hazards. However, remote systems need robust and reliable sensor nodes, which require high levels of power efficiency for autonomous, continuous and long-term use...Our technology harvests environmental energy...it optimises energy use by the sensory equipment, so as to function only for the time needed to achieve the operations of sensor warm-up, sampling, data processing and wireless data transmission, thereby creating an air quality monitoring system that measures pollutants in a sustainable and efficient way.' Read on...

The Gulf Today: Dubai professor develops innovation to combat increasing air pollution
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 feb 2016

Collaborative multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches are needed to tackle complex real world problems that require large amount of resources, diverse set of perspectives, and extensive expertise and skills. A similar joint effort is being utilized to create 'Human Rights Methodology Lab' by Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGC) at NYU Law School, Human Rights Institute (HRI) at Columbia University Law School and Human Rights Watch (HRW). The lab will bring together leading human rights investigators, advocates, and scholars with experts across disciplines to develop new approaches to the investigation of human rights abuses and to propose concrete improvements in advocacy-oriented human rights research. According to Prof. Margaret Satterthwaite, co-chair and faculty director at the CHRGC, 'Rigorous, interdisciplinary methods are essential to making human rights advocacy more effective. Improving methods helps us solidify the evidence base for our advocacy, and gives us tools to help understand the dynamics behind violations, their scope and intensity, and ultimately, their causes.' Prof. Sarah Knuckey, co-director at HRI, says 'The lab will bring together small, carefully curated groups to develop methods for human rights projects during their early stages of development. There are currently too few formal spaces for human rights advocates to critique and experiment, and the lab responds to the needs of researchers to innovate, test and share new research tools and techniques.' According to Amanda Klasing, senior women's rights researcher at HRW, 'The chance to discuss methods with experts in other disciplines is an invaluable resource. It allows researchers to develop innovative projects with data and approaches that can help us improve our advocacy for ending abuses.' In addition to above persons, the other convener of the lab is Brian Root, quantitative analyst at HRW. The lab will also have participation and assistance of Holly Stubbs, a researcher at Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR). Read on...

Human Rights Watch: Innovative Lab Launched to Strengthen Human Rights Work
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 jan 2016

Concerned authorities try to provide affordable housing to their marginalized communities. In regions with extreme climate conditions it becomes even more challenging to manage costs related to energy consumption. Nanaimo Aboriginal Center (British Columbia, Canada) in partnership with the city administration is planning to build an affordable housing complex that will abide by the energy efficiency standards. The project will use passive housing design, that is more economical and is an alternative to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design). According to Chris Beaton, Executive Director of Nanaimo Aboriginal Center, 'You build your building so it's oriented to the sun and during the winter, you're allowing in the heat of the sun to warm the interior of the building. You put in robust insulation...then you vapour barrier it so no cold air is coming in and you're not losing heat during the winter.' Read on...

Nanaimo News Bulletin: Affordable housing project aims to use passive house design
Author: Karl Yu


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 nov 2015

The fast-paced world of fashion and related consumption leads to generation of large amount of waste that leaves a substantial ecological footprint. According to the nonprofit GrowNYC, in the city of New York the average person throws out 46 pounds of clothings and textiles every year (totals 193000 tons for NY). While Council for Textile Recycling found that US generates 25 billion pounds of textile waste per year (82 pounds per person) and estimates that it will increase to 35.4 billion pounds by 2019. But only about 4 billion pounds (15%) gets donated and recycled and the remaining reaches landfills, contributing 5.2% to all trash generated in US. Elizabeth Cline, author of the book "Overdressed: The Shockingly High Price of Cheap Fashion", says 'There is so much waste being created and that has changed really dramatically in the last 15 years with the rise of fast fashion and disposable consumption.' Adam Baruchowitz, CEO of Wearable Collections, which coordinates textile recycling in partnership with GrowNYC, acknowledges the increasing rise in textile waste. While Nate Herman, VP of international trade at American Apparel and Footwear Association, have a contrarian view and explains 'People are actually buying less than they did 10 years. While there has been a lot of press about [wastefulness], the numbers don't bear that out.' But he acknowledges that the industry is trying to effectively handle the clothing's end-of-life issues. Some companies provide small credit to consumers who trade-in used garments, while others donate used clothings to charities. Some companies provide support and contribute to the recycle programs where used textiles end up in producing materials used in other industries like insulation in buildings. Moreover, there are a number of startups that are working to give a second life to used clothings. A small number of fashion companies are also incorporating recycled materials in their new line of clothings. Eco-friendly strategies are considered costly by the industry. According to Jill Dumain, director of environmental strategy at Patagonia, 'It's an industry-wide dilemma, for sure, on how do we do something at scale that the industry can participate in...The end result is that you have smaller-scale production that ends up to be more expensive.' She suggests that awareness about recycling is necessary and at the same time there need to be a thinking among consumers not to treat clothes like a cheap disposable item. Slow fashion might be the way forward. She further explains, 'I do think consumption is a big part. People need to learn how to buy less and companies need to learn how to be profitable in selling less.' Read on...

CBS News: Is the fast fashion industry ready to change its wasteful ways?
Author: Michael Casey


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 nov 2015

Nonprofit organizations intend to bring social change and serve communities by involving themselves in the areas of education, healthcare, environment, poverty alleviation etc. Large number of these organizations are professionally managed and utilize business practices for efficiency and effectiveness to make better impact in the society. Elizabeth Gore, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Dell and Chair of the Global Entrepreneurs Council at United Nations Foundation, explains how working and volunteering in the nonprofit sector benefits individuals and is a viable career option - (1) Since nonprofit sector is an organized industry, individuals with an undergraduate degree in fields like business, engineering etc can pursue master's in nonprofit management and pubic policy. (2) Volunteering gets your foot on the door and provides global experience in a number of areas. (3) You don't have to build your own thing and your game changing charitable idea can be developed by utilizing the infrastructure of the existing nonprofit. It has better chance of success as there are networking opportunities in such an environment. (4) Most national nonprofits and humanitarian groups have an attractive pay structure and value talent. It would be sufficient to cover ones expenses. (5) As the nonprofit industry involves working with committed individuals, it helps in building long-term relationships and lasting friendships. Read on...

Cosmopolitan: 5 Surprising Things to Know About Jobs That Give Back
Authors: Elizabeth Gore, Danielle Kam


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 10 oct 2015

According to Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), 'Impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return...The growing impact investment market provides capital to address the world's most pressing challenges in sectors such as sustainable agriculture, clean technology, microfinance, and affordable and accessible basic services including housing, healthcare, and education.' The recent report by Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, 'Great Expectations: Mission Preservation and Financial Performance in Impact Investments', based on the evaluation of financial performance of 53 impact investing equity funds that include 557 individual investments, explores the two most important aspects of impact investing - financial returns and long-term impact. The study suggests that - in certain markets segments - investors might not need to expect lower returns as a tradeoff for social impact. According to authors of the report, Wharton finance professors David Musto and Chris Geczy, certain market segments of funds in the sample yield returns close to those of public market indices. Prof. Geczy explains, 'Our research fills a near-void of rigorous analysis of private investment and social impact outcomes and most importantly the link between the ideals of doing well and doing good. The study examines the tension between profits and purpose, also bringing to bear analyses characterizing relative performance as well as statistical certainty about the result. It represents an exciting initial advancement in our ongoing social impact research agenda.' Read on...

GlobeNewswire: New Wharton Research Shows "Doing Well While Doing Good" Is Viable Investment Strategy, Investors Seeking Social Impact Can Receive Comparable Returns
Author: Peter Winicov


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 sep 2015

The United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 will be held in New York from 25 to 27 September 2015, to adopt the post-2015 agenda for sustainable development. The 2030 agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will replace the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were adopted by 193 UN member states in 2000 to root out poverty from the world. The 17 SDGs continue to build upon MDGs to end poverty alongwith fighting inequality and injustice. These goals will also include tackling the concerns of climate change, global health and hunger. Helen Clark, UNDP Adminstrator and former Prime Minister of New Zealand, says on the UNDP.org, 'World leaders have an unprecedented opportunity this year to shift the world onto a path of inclusive, sustainable and resilient development...If we all work together, we have a chance of meeting citizens' aspirations for peace, prosperity, and wellbeing, and to preserve our planet.' The 17 SDGs are - (1) End poverty in all its forms everywhere (2) End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture (3) Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages (4) Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all (5) Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls (6) Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all (7) Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all (8) Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all (9) Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation (10) Reduce inequality within and among countries (11) Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (12) Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns (13) Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (14) Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development (15) Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss (16) Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels (17) Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. Read on...

UN Sustainable Development: Transforming our world - The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 sep 2015

Collaborative approaches in tackling healthcare can play an important role in reducing costs and also lessen burden on already overstretched healthcare systems. In such a collaborative setting niche and focused nonprofits can share some responsibilities of healthcare providers and lessen their loads. The disruption of healthcare and enactment of Affordable Care Act have forced hospitals and physicians to evolve new ways of imparting efficient healthcare and redirect patient care from the acute care setting to primary care 'medical homes' that focus on prevention and coordinate patient care. The New York State Medicaid reform is a step in this direction and intends to bring nonprofits and government together to address issues that influence healthcare like food, housing, finances etc. Such coordinated preventative measures are expected to reduce emergency visits to hopsitals. Medicaid funding to such programs that have been undertaken by nonprofits would enhance their capabilities and they can more holistically work towards providing solutions to residents to live healthier lives. Moreover similar partnerships will also help in tackling chronic diseases. Shoshanah Brown, executive director of a.i.r. NYC, an organization that helps asthmatic children in poor neighborhoods, says 'Community-based organizations like ours that are close to the ground and are very much in the community can keep patients healthier.' Montefiore Medical Center in collaboration with YMCA conducts a program to prevent pre-diabetic patients from full-blown diabetes with a 16-week class. Patient with mental illnesses or substance abuse issues will also benefit from this reform for collaboration as healthcare providers can work with a housing group so that they have a safe place to live and stay out of hospital. Read on...

Nonprofit Quarterly: Could Collaborations Mean Better and Less Costly Healthcare?
Author: G. Meredith Betz


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 apr 2014

A team of economists, Esther Duflo & Abhijeet Banerjee (both from MIT) and Arun Chandrashekhar & Matthew Jackson (both from Stanford), in their research paper 'The Diffusion of Microfinance', explain the effects of providing information first to the well connected people on the popularity of socially beneficial programs. They termed this new measure of social influence as 'diffusion centrality'. Researchers examined the spread of microfinance in India through word of mouth and found that when socially well connected individuals were the first to know and gain access to these programs it increased the participation by 11%. The surveys for the study were mainly conducted in the select villages of the state of Karnataka in India. The study also found that participants in the microfinance programs are more effective in dissipating information to others - 7 times more than those who know about the programs but not participating. The research can be utilized by microfinance institutions and nonprofit poverty alleviation groups to evaluate the most effective methods to introduce and implement such programs in local settings. Read on...

Asian Scientist: How Anti-Poverty Programs Go Viral
Author: Peter Dizikes

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