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IBERDROLA USA FOUNDATION AWARDS $100,000 TO BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY WATSON SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING

The Iberdrola USA Foundation has given a grant of $100,000 to Binghamton University’s Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science to provide graduating seniors the opportunity to work on teams to develop new engineering products.

“Seniors are required to work in teams to design, build and test a realistic engineering system under faculty supervision,” University spokeswoman Gail Glover said in a statement. “Although the projects may vary between engineering disciplines, the experience provides exposure to realistic design processes, teamwork and the expectations of practicing engineers.”

Clayton Ellis, manager of corporate communications of New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG), a subsidiary company of Iberdrola USA, said this was an opportunity for students to use their technical knowledge to solve real-world engineering problems.

“The Iberdrola USA Foundation is always looking for ways to support programs that develop the skill sets our companies need,” Ellis wrote in an email. “We began talking with the University several months ago and we concluded that the Watson School’s senior capstone experience was an excellent fit for funding.”

Michelle Gardner, the major gifts officer for the Watson School of Engineering and a Watson School liaison, said the grant from Iberdrola is part of a BU fundraising campaign.

“The gift from Iberdrola USA Foundation will be recognized as part of the Bold.Brilliant.Binghamton Campaign for Binghamton University,” Gardner wrote in an email. “The campaign has been incredibly important to the Watson School as it has allowed us to enhance our support of students and our academic mission as well as building a base of support to plan for the future.”

The grant will be given to Watson over a period of three years, with funding from the grant coming directly from the Iberdrola USA Foundation. This is the first gift that Binghamton has received from Iberdrola.

As technology continues to have a greater role in our everyday lives, Gardner notes that the research done at Binghamton University is meeting challenges facing energy efficiency, green technology and thermal management.

According to Gardner, Binghamton University has a valuable historical relationship with NYSEG and Energy East, of which Iberdrola is the parent company.

Retired NYSEG Chairman, President and CEO James Carrigg is one of the founders of the Watson School. Iberdrola USA CEO Robert Kump is a graduate of Binghamton University, and the Innovative Technologies Complex, which includes the Biotechnology Building, Engineering and Science Building and future Center of Excellence building, is built on property that the campus purchased from NYSEG.

Jessica Bracht, a freshman majoring in bioengineering, said she is excited about the potential opportunities there will be because of the grant.

“I’m really captivated by the opportunities I will receive with this grant, and look forward to graduating in a few years with being able to have used my skills on real engineering problems,” she said.

Roman Porshnev, a freshman in the Watson School, echoed Bracht’s excitement.

“Instead of simply learning about engineering principles like we do now, I feel that dealing with engineering strategies used in the real world will be better for developing skills that we will need in our future,” Porshnev said.

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GLOBAL HEALTHY LIVING FOUNDATION LAUNCHES NEW STUDY OF OPEN EDUCATION RESOURCES

The Global Healthy Living Foundation (GHLF.org) has received a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to produce a report on the awareness and use of Open Education Resources (OER) in U.S. Higher Education. The work will be conducted in partnership with the Babson Survey Research Group at Babson College.

According to the Hewlett Foundation, “Open Educational Resources (OER) are high-quality, openly licensed, online educational materials that offer an extraordinary opportunity for people everywhere to share, use, and reuse knowledge. They also demonstrate great potential as a mechanism for instructional innovation as networks of teachers and learners share best practices.”

This study will measure the level of OER adoption among the critical chief academic officer audience and to identify the primary drivers and barriers to adoption. Modeled on the same process that has applied successfully for the past nine years to the tracking of the attitudes, practices, and penetration of online learning, the project will provide a national perspective on the state of adoption of OER among institutions of higher education. The results will serve as benchmarks to support the tracking of changes over time. The specific aspects to be measured are:

  • The degree of familiarity with OER among key academic decision makers – to what degree are they aware of open education resources? How does this level of awareness vary by the type of institution?
  • Potential barriers to OER adoption – what concerns (or possible misperceptions) do key academic decision makers have that is preventing or inhibiting their adoption of OER?
  • Identification of the key players in the decision to adopt OER. Who on campus has a role in the decision, and which among them have the primary role? Are the players the same at different institutions, or do they vary by size and type of higher education institution?

The report, to be based on a survey of nearly one thousand key academic leaders, will examine the perceptions and use of Open Education Resources among institutions of higher education in the Untied States. The project will build on processes and methodology for the annual surveys of online learning conducted by the Babson Survey research group. The report publication is expected later this year.

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About the Global Healthy Living Foundation:
The Global Healthy Living Foundation (http://www.GHLF.org), is a 501(c)3 patient advocacy organization with the mission of improving people’s quality of life through education, awareness and advocacy. The GHLF, co-founded in 1999 by Spondyloarthropathy patient Seth Ginsberg and social entrepreneur Louis Tharp, has successfully mobilized and activated groups of patients across more than a dozen chronic disease states, acting as a convener of organizations to address local, State and Federal issues. Mr. Tharp also serves as a Secretary of Defense appointee to the Army Education Advisory Committee.

About The Babson Survey Research Group:
The Babson Survey Research Group in the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurial Research at Babson College
(http://www.babson.edu/Academics/centers/blank-center/global-research/Pages/babson-survey-research-group.aspx) conducts regional, national, and international research projects, including survey design, sampling methodology, data integrity, statistical analyses and
reporting.

About The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has been making grants since 1967 to help solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. The Foundation concentrates its resources on activities in education, the environment, global development and population, performing arts, and philanthropy, and makes grants to support disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

For more on grants and grant writing, visit Grant Pros.

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UNC RECEIVES $10 MILLION COMMITMENT FOR ART MUSEUM & HEART DISEASE RESEARCH

Dr. Hugh A. “Chip” McAllister Jr. of Houston has made a $10 million commitment to UNC-Chapel Hill that will include a collection of nearly 50 works of art for the Ackland Art Museum and expand an endowment dedicated to heart disease research at the School of Medicine.

The gift was announced April 12. McAllister is a 1966 School of Medicine alumnus.

“This gift will transform our teaching, research and public service in multiple ways,” said Chancellor Holden Thorp. “It provides a new educational experience for our students and the entire community through some of the best examples available of American art and contemporary sculpture. Equally important, the gift will support the groundbreaking and life-saving cardiovascular research conducted by our faculty in the School of Medicine.”

The portion of the commitment benefiting the Ackland Art Museum — valued at $5.5 million — is the single largest gift of art in the museum’s history. Included in the gift will be signature works by 19th-century painters Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran; examples by members of the Taos School, such as Oscar Berninghaus, E. L. Blumenschein and Joseph Sharp; and contemporary sculpture by Willem de Kooning, Allan Houser, Jesus Moroles and Reuben Nakian. Several examples of American Indian pottery and textiles are also included.

In all, McAllister’s commitment will include more than 150 paintings, sculptures and artifacts. Pieces not going to the Ackland will be sold, with the proceeds — $2.5 million — going to expand an existing endowment supporting the UNC McAllister Heart Institute (MHI) at the School of Medicine and early career cardiovascular medicine researchers. McAllister also is committing $2 million to support the institute.

Recognized nationally and internationally as one of the most prominent cardiac pathologists in the U.S. before his retirement from the Texas Heart Institute in Houston in 2000, McAllister has contributed more than $18 million to the University during the past 15 years, primarily to the MHI. The UNC McAllister Heart Institute was named in his honor in 2009 to recognize his many contributions to cardiovascular medicine and to the University.

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PATTERSON FOUNDATION INSPIRES $1.7 MILLION RAISED FOR ARTHRITIS

Since The Patterson Foundation began inspiring donations to the Arthritis Foundation Florida Chapter (AFFC) by matching donations in 2010, AFFC has raised nearly $1.7 million through its annual statewide Jingle Bell Run/Walk events. From the winter 2011 events alone, The Patterson Foundation will match $233,413 in increased donations raised. The match, along with an additional $682,480 raised by the AFFC during the 2011 events, creates a total of $915,893 to support vital research and education programs designed to improve the quality of life for those with arthritis.

Along with it being the second consecutive year The Patterson Foundation issued a matching challenge to drive donations for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk events, it is also the second year The Patterson Foundation provided strategic communications consulting to uplift AFFC’s fundraising capability.

“By engaging in collaborative philanthropy with AFFC beyond writing a check, we are helping to create new realities for the organization and for Floridians with arthritis,” said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation. “This partnership with AFFC is a model example of our philosophy. In 2010, our goal was to inspire philanthropy throughout Florida in the fight against arthritis, and over the past two years, the generous response from Floridians and the enthusiasm of AFFC has been overwhelming.”

In 2010, The Patterson Foundation, through its strategic communications partner, assisted AFFC as they developed social media outreach plans. In 2011, The Patterson Foundation worked to build AFFC’s capacity in other areas of communications, including leveraging sponsorships, building relationships with media and maximizing social media to improve fundraising.

As a result of this collaboration, Jingle Bell Run/Walk donations made to AFFC increased 300-percent over the past two years.

“We are extremely grateful for all the support from The Patterson Foundation over the last two years,” said Anne Fair Forrest, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation Florida Chapter. “Nearly one-in-three Floridians live with a form of arthritis and this is not acceptable. Our partnership with The Patterson Foundation has truly transformed our way of working. It allowed us access to expertise that has been inspirational, as well as, educational. The lessons we have learned will serve the Florida Chapter and its constituents far into the future.”

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The Patterson Foundation believes that through communications, technology, and financial innovations, improvements may be achieved that transcend any single issue, entity, or geographic area. The Foundation provides resources to facilitate, expedite and share methods, techniques and tools, joining with others in creating new realities. For more information, please visit http://www.thepattersonfoundation.org.

For more on grants and grant writing, visit Grant Pros.

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HALL FAMILY FOUNDATION MAKES $790,000 GIFT FOR UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS’ HALL CENTER FOR THE HUMANITIES

A $790,000 gift from the Hall Family Foundation will provide $430,000 for renovations to the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas and $360,000 toward meeting a National Endowment for the Humanities matching challenge grant.

The NEH challenge grant of $425,000 requires $1.275 million in matching gifts by July 31, 2015. The grant will underwrite two new programs at the Hall Center, Research Collaboratives and Scholars on Site, which will encourage and support collaborative research in the humanities.

This award is the Hall Center’s unprecedented third challenge grant from the NEH. The first NEH challenge grant for the Hall Center, in 1983, supported faculty enhancements, and the second, in 2000, funded development of new outreach programs and expansion of the Center’s Humanities Lecture Series.

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little expressed appreciation for the Hall Family Foundation’s gift. “The humanities are a vital part of not just the life of our university, but of our society as a whole,” she said. “The Hall Family Foundation’s consistent, generous support for the humanities at KU enables our scholars to contribute to the creativity of our world, as well as help prepare our students for successful lives.”

Angela Andresen McClelland, vice president of the Hall Family Foundation and a member of the Hall Center’s advisory board, said the programs created through this NEH grant will launch stronger collaborative research projects that benefit KU, its students and the community.

“The Hall Family Foundation is pleased to provide early support to the matching fund,” she said. “We trust this will promote fundraising efforts toward the required match and put the Hall Center on confident footing as it proceeds through the five-year grant period.”

Victor Bailey, Hall Center director, said the defining mark of the Hall Family Foundation is the promotion of excellence in the sciences, arts and humanities by the sustained provision of advice and endowment.

“The Hall Center is deeply appreciative of this new gift,” Bailey said. “Not only will it underwrite collaborative research in the humanities, but it will also allow essential improvements to the structure of the center.”

Bailey said renovations will include creation of a new seminar room and two office spaces, as well as other improvements to the building.

The gift is part of Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, the university’s comprehensive fundraising campaign.

KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU’s Lawrence campus.

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MELANOMA RESEARCH ALLIANCE AWARDS $4.9 MILLION IN RESEARCH GRANTS TO INVESTIGATORS AT 22 LABS

The Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA), the largest private funder of melanoma research, today announced that 22 researchers at leading academic research institutions around the world have been awarded grants to develop  improved means to prevent, detect and treat deadly skin cancer.

This latest round of awards brings the total awarded by MRA in its five year history to more than $38 million, provided to 134 investigators at 65 institutions in 10 countries.  MRA, which directs 100% of all public donations it receives to research, has awarded almost $8 million in 2012 alone, including $3 million awarded to the MRA‐Stand Up to Cancer Melanoma Dream Team.

Among the areas of investigation being pursued by MRA’s 2012 award recipients is the critical effort to advance existing therapies for metastatic melanoma, including the recently FDA‐
approved vemurafenib (for patients with BRAF mutant melanoma) and ipilimumab (an immunotherapy), which have extended the lives of some patients and ignited new optimism in
the field of melanoma research. The aim of several of MRA’s new grants is to prolong the effects of these approaches, including identification of resistance mechanisms and new biomarkers and testing drug combinations. Additionally, several of the grants are focused on finding new drug targets for those patients whose cancers are not driven by mutant BRAF (about 50% of all melanomas).

”The disturbing increase in incidence of melanoma, especially among young people, lends even greater urgency to finding new tools and treatments for a disease that every year is diagnosed among almost 80,000 people  and is responsible for more than 9,000 deaths in the US alone,” said Wendy K.D. Selig, President and CEO of MRA.  “We are inspired by the exciting progress that is finally occurring in the field and delighted by the exceptional caliber of proposals, investigators, and institutions we are able to support through our 2012 grants.”

“When we established MRA, in association with the Milken Institute, our goal was to fund the most promising research worldwide to defeat melanoma.  The progress in recent years has been remarkable and we are committed to accelerating the pace of research until no one suffers or dies from this devastating disease,” said Debra Black, MRA’s Co‐founder and Chair.  “We are grateful to the scientists and those who are generously supporting our efforts because we know that no one organization can solve this problem alone.”

These new awards include 13 Established Investigator Awards, two Pilot Awards, two Development Awards, five Young Investigator Awards, and an Academic‐Industry Partnership
Award. As in previous years, several of the 2012 Young Investigator Awards have been fullysponsored by individual and corporate donors. In addition, this round of funding leverages
investments by other organizations that share in our mission to accelerate cancer research, including the Melanoma Research Foundation, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the Safeway Foundation, which are co‐supporting three of the Established Investigator Awards. The 2012 Academic‐Industry Partnership Award, which will support the development of a new melanoma treatment, will be jointly sponsored by Altor BioScience Corporation.

“This new round of grant awards addresses critical issues in the prevention, detection, staging and treatment of melanoma that are central to making further clinical advances against this disease”, said MRA Chief Science Officer Dr. Suzanne L. Topalian.  “This is a time of unprecedented opportunity in melanoma research, and these projects are anticipated to result
in near‐term benefits for patients.”

Awards were made to investigators at the following institutions, some of which received several awards in this round:  Georgetown University; Boston University Medical Campus; Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine; Dana‐Farber Cancer Institute; Dartmouth College; Johns Hopkins University; Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Melbourne-Austin Branch; Massachusetts General Hospital; Memorial Sloan‐Kettering Cancer Center; Queensland Institute of Medical Research; Rockefeller University; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, San Francisco; University of Pennsylvania; University of Washington; Yale University School of Medicine.

A complete list of the awards and the individuals who received them is available at the MRA website, http://www.curemelanoma.org.

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The Melanoma Research Alliance is a public charity formed in 2007 under the auspices of the Milken Institute, with the generous founding support of Debra and Leon Black. It supports an international, cross‐disciplinary group of biomedical researchers possessing clinical and scientific expertise to explore, identify and pursue innovative solutions to critical research questions, leading to better treatments and a cure for melanoma patients. For more information, visit www.curemelanoma.org.

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TOP PHILANTHROPY RESEARCH PRIZE AWARDED TO ALBANY CONSULTANT ROBERT M. PENNA, Ph.D

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has awarded its top research award, The Skystone Partners Prize for Research on Fundraising and Philanthropy, to Robert M. Penna, Ph.D., of Albany, N.Y., for his pioneering book, The Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox: A Complete Guide to Program Effectiveness, Performance Measurement, and Results, published by John Wiley & Sons.

Each year, the AFP Research Council awards the Skystone Partners Prize for Research to the author of a book that contributes substantially to the knowledge and understanding of fundraising or philanthropic behavior. The award is made possible by an endowment established by Skystone Partners, an international fundraising consulting firm, through the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy to encourage advanced research that extends the knowledge of fundraising and philanthropy.

The Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox is an in-depth and comprehensive treatment on outcome use and assessment for nonprofit organizations.  Of great interest to nonprofits will be how the book brings in tools and approaches used in the corporate sector and shows readers how they can be effective for philanthropic and governmental organizations.

“Beyond serving as a virtual encyclopedia on the topic, this book remains practical and entertaining through its smart organization and lively presentation,” said AFP’s Research Council in a statement about the honoree. “This volume was selected with intentional recognition that fundraising takes place within the larger organizational context.  Success in fundraising serves, but is also served by, overall organizational effectiveness.  This book provides an accessible and comprehensive set of tools for promoting that effectiveness.  In keeping with the qualifications and criteria for this AFP research prize, Dr. Penna’s book is outstanding.”

Penna is a consultant to the nonprofit sector, and one of the nation’s leading experts in comparative outcome models and their application to the work of nonprofits. In addition to his consulting practice, he currently works for the Albany-based Family and Children’s Service of the Capital Region as a program developer, and serves as the international coordinator for Charity Navigator, responsible for the development of that group’s activities beyond U.S. borders. He also serves on Charity Navigator’s advisory board and is a member of the Alliance for Effective Social Investing. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior consultant to The Rensselaerville Institute, facilitating its nationwide outcome management seminars, serving as project lead for the Institute’s design of a program reporting system for the United Nations, and worked on projects for, among others, the A.E. Casey Foundation, the National Geographic Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. He was also the lead author of the Institute’s book, Outcome Frameworks.

Penna previously worked 13 years as a staff member for the New York State Senate. He grew up in the Bronx, graduated from Fordham University, and holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Boston University with a specialization in urban and municipal affairs.

“Skystone Partners is delighted with the Research Council’s selection for the Prize for Research this year,” said Elizabeth Kohler Knuppel, managing partner for Skystone Partners. “As more philanthropists seek to make investments based on verifiable outcomes, Dr. Penna’s work demystifies the process of setting, managing and reporting realistic outcomes for today’s nonprofit organization.”

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) presented the Skystone Partners Prize for Research at its board meeting before the 49th AFP International Conference on Fundraising in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“Nonprofit effectiveness and performance should rightly be on the minds of every nonprofit professional, but it’s a difficult issue that many charities can’t get their arms around—how best to measure their impact and communicate it to the public,” said Andrew Watt, FInstF, president and CEO of AFP. “What Dr. Penna has done is create a ground-breaking, definitive roadmap for all charities in assessing and expressing their capacity and outcomes. The volume couldn’t come at a more crucial time with the giving public clamoring for ways to identify and support charities that make a real difference. AFP is proud to honor Dr. Penna for this exceptional work.”

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About The Association of Fundraising Professionals

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents 30,000 members in 230 chapters throughout the world, working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs. The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession. For more information, go to www.afpnet.org.

About Skystone Partners

Skystone Partners and its diverse team of fundraising consultants have counseled nonprofits and managed campaigns with goals from $1 million to over $500 million.  Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, the firm and its 35 U.S.-based professional staff members are currently serving institutions throughout North America.  For more information, go to www.skystonepartners.com.

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