Monthly Archives: August 2011

Hollywood Stars and Fashionistas attended (BELVEDERE)RED sales launch party at The Box

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Golden Globe nominees, and stars of Mad Men, Jon Hamm, John Slattery and Elizabeth Moss, rock legend Marilyn Manson, supermodels Alessandra Ambrosio and Lydia Hearst and Transformers star Shia Labeouf enjoyed an exclusive evening of cutting edge entertainment from Proprietor and Artistic Director Simon Hammerstein to celebrate the partnership between Belvedere Vodka and (RED)™ and the sales launch of the (BELVEDERE)RED Special Edition bottle to raise proceeds for the Global Fund, the world’s leading financier of programs to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria™ in Africa.

The one night only event also saw MTV star Audrina Partridge, socialite Lindsay Lohan, actor Jesse Metcalfe, and Dancing with the Stars choreographer Derek Hough, toast the weekend with (BELVEDERE)RED cocktails.

All guests enjoyed an evening of entertainment featuring the best of The Box performers from all over the world, providing a ‘magic hat’ of entertainment.  

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is an international financing institution that invests the world’s money to save lives. To date, it has committed $22.4 billion in 150 countries to support large-scale prevention, treatment and care programs against the three diseases.

 

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Sunshine Bill for State Schools’ Foundations Makes Way to Governors Desk

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Last week, the California Senate voted 36-1 in favor of legislation to make the fund-raising arms of state universities subject to public-records laws.  Senate Bill 8, which would expand the authority of the California Public Records Act on the state’s college campuses, is heading to Gov. Jerry Brown for consideration.  Brown’s predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, twice vetoed similar measures to change the rules for university foundations, which are set up as separate units to raise money for public universities. Democrat, Sen. Leland Yee hopes the third time’s a charm!

As it stands, private organizations that support public universities are now exempt from having to disclose much of the information that public agencies usually make public.

The University of California and California State University, which said many donors did not want to have their identities revealed, opposed Yee’s two previous bills, however, decided to drop their opposition to the current bill after Yee agreed to amend it to protect the anonymity of some donors.

The Bill made national headlines last year when California State University at Stanislaus declined to report how much it had paid Sarah Palin to speak at a fund-raising event.

Yee and open-records advocates have long sought to bring state university foundations under California’s sunshine laws which would call for greater financial transparency at campuses’ foundations.

The measure would allow public examination of the financial records, contracts, and correspondences of state schools’ private “auxiliary” groups. Donors would be identified only if they receive gifts or services from the institutions worth $2,500 or more–up from $500 in past versions of the bill–or won a no-bid contract within five years of giving.

 

 

Nonprofit Cyber Security – How to Lock Your Electronic Door – Part II

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Cyber security enables organizations to practice safe security techniques to minimize the number of successful cyber security attacks. Many tasks that were once done by hand are now carried out by computer; therefore sensitive information is frequently stored on computers that are attached to the Internet.

Joseph Steinberg, a cyber security expert and the C.E.O. of Green Armor Solutions, a leading provider of information security software, provides tips to nonprofit cyber security.

While a single article is not sufficient to cover all the aspects of cyber security in a non-profit setting, here are several high-level pointers…

1)      First and foremost, commit to actively ensuring cyber security. The cost – in terms of time, money, and aggravation – will likely be far less if a proactive approach is taken.

2)      Create proper policies governing who has access to which resources, and implement rules and technology to enforce these policies. Access to systems and information should always be on a “need to know” basis. Systems should be used for only their intended purposes and not for others, such as reading email or accessing Facebook. Ensure that every user has their own credentials and that all systems require a login with a password that is not easily guessable or found in the dictionary.

3)      If wireless (or wired) Internet is provided for guests within a facility, implement it on its own separate network – isolated from any non-profit systems and networks. Visitors have no need to access any internal systems. Don’t let them.

4)      Branch office managers should ensure that they conform to all security policies of the parent organization and should also implement security to ensure that a breach at another branch, or at the main office, does not prorogate to their location.

5)      Ensure compliance with all credit card security rules, and, unless truly necessary, do not store credit card data after processing transactions. Never store credit card security codes or debit card PIN numbers.

6)      Store all sensitive data – including donor information, employee data, documents related to programs being run and beneficiaries from any charity, etc. – in encrypted formats. When in doubt, encrypt.

7)      Select and implement security technology to meet functional and security requirements– and ensure that all technology is kept up to date. Keep in mind that all major recent cyber security breaches have occurred to organizations running firewalls, anti-virus software, and other security products, and so…

8)      Perhaps most importantly, leverage the services of a skilled cyber security professional to properly design your cyber security plan. Remember, cyber criminals have technical expertise. Shouldn’t you have it to defend your organization?

Joseph Steinberg (CISSP, ISSAP, ISSMP, CSSLP) is a respected cybersecurity expert and the C.E.O. of Green Armor Solutions, a leading provider of information security software. An industry veteran with 20 years of experience, Joseph is often sought after by organizations ranging from global corporations to small businesses to assist them with their digital security needs. He is the inventor of several cybersecurity technologies, the author of a book and many articles on cybersecurity-related matters, and a frequent lecturer on topics related to cybersecurity, technology, and business. For more information, or to contact him, please visit www.JosephSteinberg.com

Nonprofit Cyber Security – How to Lock Your Electronic Door – Part I

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Running Internet servers for a Non-profit or NGO can be challenging.  Often times, nonprofits have limited resources available so Information Security, although an important factor, gets overlooked.

With the recent news reports of internet hacking taking place on the home page of the California Attorney General’s Office and the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, local nonprofits should really evaluate their own systems for security threats.

It wasn’t clear who was responsible for hijacking the attorney general’s home page but the hacker-activist group, Anonymous, did accept responsibility for BART and threatened to attack the website of the Fullerton Police Department because of the use of force by officers from that agency; Fullerton officers are under investigation in connection with the death of mentally ill transient Kelly Thomas.

Client data, credit card systems and confidential communications are only a few of the reasons why secure servers are an essential part of an organization’s computer system. Below is an article about cyber security for nonprofits written by Joseph Steinberg, a cyber security expert and the C.E.O. of Green Armor Solutions, a leading provider of information security software.

Non-profits, like most modern organizations, handle significant amounts of sensitive information – which often resides in electronic form on Internet-connected computers and networks. Donor details, information about programs run and people receiving aid, employee and payroll records, and many other forms of data are all of significant value to criminals.

Hackers know that non-profits often don’t have the resources to invest in expensive security systems, and that computer systems in use may be several years old and designed before non-profits were being targeted with digital attacks. Cyber-thieves understand, therefore, that such systems often contain vulnerabilities and lack cyber-defenses, making them easier to hack than many systems in the commercial sector.

The consequences of compromised security may not be small. Bad press, the breach of confidentiality and embarrassment emanating from the leakage of data about people being helped by the non-profit, fines from credit card companies for failure to confirm to security requirements, or donors suffering the anguish of identity theft and blaming an organization’s negligence can be catastrophic.

So what can a nonprofit do to ensure that it remains cyber-secure?  Steinberg provides eight high-level suggestions that will get nonprofits headed down the right path to security.

Innovative Fundraising Site Helps Local Charities Raise Money

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More than 70 local nonprofits ranging from large national organizations like the American Red Cross to local animal clinics, museums and schools have joined GoodSearch.com and GoodShop.com to provide supporters with free, easy ways to support their missions.  Through these sites, supporters have raised nearly $8 million for their favorite nonprofits and schools!

It today’s economy, many people are searching for creative ways to give back to local charities without the money coming directly from their checkbooks.    The GoodSearch and GoodShop team has revolutionized online philanthropy so that no one is denied the opportunity to support the causes most important to them.

GoodShop.com is an online shopping mall which donates up to 30% of each purchase to your designated cause.  The shopping experience and prices are the same as going to the retailer directly, but each time you shop at a participating store via GoodShop, a percentage of what you spend goes back to your favorite charity or school.  It also provides over 100,000 coupons and deals – so not only are you ‘doing good’, but you’re saving money while doing so!

Similarly, with every search conducted on Yahoo!-powered GoodSearch.com, approximately one penny is donated to your favorite charity.  It’s used exactly like any other search engine and the pennies add up quickly!

To give you a sense of how this has worked, below are a few local charities and the money they have received through GoodSearch and GoodShop:

William Holden Wildlife Foundation – more than $1,660 – offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the outdoors in a rare communication with nature often unavailable to them in their own environment.

SPCA – Los Angeles – more than $1,250 –  dedicated to the prevention of cruelty to animals through Education, Law Enforcement, Intervention & Advocacy.

Free Arts for Abused Children – over $860 – inspire hope in the lives of abused, homeless and at-risk children through innovative creative arts programs and positive interactions with caring adult volunteers.

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts – nearly $850 – Students at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, through powerful learning experiences, will embrace and excel in the arts and academics while working towards their visions of the future.

Orange County Conservation Corps – over $300 – serves young, at-risk adults through employment, training and educational programs that build self-sufficiency and benefit the community through conservation-related projects.

Foster Care Auxiliary of Orange County – nearly $250 – enhances the lives of all Orange County foster children, to help support and retain Orange County licensed foster families and those who are providing a permanent home for a minor from the Orange County foster care system.

These are just a few examples from the more than 100,000 charities and schools currently benefitting from GoodSearch and GoodShop.

“We have taken simple everyday actions, like searching and shopping, and turned them into ways people can do good with just a click of the mouse,” says Scott Garell, CEO of GoodSearch (and former President of Ask.com).  “Plus, with over 100,000 coupons daily which deliver $2MM in savings, GoodShop helps our users save money—which is important in the current economy — while doing good at the same time.

Here is how the sites work:

GoodShop:

  1. Go to www.goodshop.com
  2. Designate your favorite charity or school (you only have to do this the first time)
  3. Click through to your favorite store and shop as you normally would – a percentage of what you spend will go to your favorite cause!  (and, you’ll find more than 100,000 coupons on GoodShop too!)

GoodSearch:

  1. Go to www.goodsearch.com
  2. Designate your favorite charity or school (you only have to do this the first time)
  3. Search the web in the Yahoo!-powered search box as you usually would – each time you search, a donation is made to your cause!

 

 

People of Tinseltown, What Will You Do To Remember?

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September 11, 2011 marks the ten year anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11.  In a drive to organize the single largest day of charitable service in U.S. history in observance and remembrance of the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, MyGoodDeed (www.911day.org), a leading 9/11 nonprofit organization, and HandsOn Network, the volunteer activation division of Points of Light Institute, launched an inspiring national public service campaign.

The powerful campaign, themed “I will” features more than 30 actors, singers and sports figures, including: Samuel L. Jackson, Mariska Hargitay, Hillary Duff, Jordin Sparks, New York Yankees’ first baseman Mark Teixeira and Cleveland Cavaliers’ Baron Davis. Each shares their good deed plans for 9/11 and urges others to join them by saying, “I will,” the initiative’s call to action to “remember by doing.”

The local community can get involved in this powerful campaign by posting a personal “I will” tribute at www.Facebook.com/911day. The goal of the campaign is to receive One Million Good Deed Tributes before September 11.

Also appearing in the campaign are relatives of 9/11 victims and survivors of the attacks, encouraging people everywhere to engage in good deeds and voluntary service in honor of those who perished.

Members of the 9/11 community appearing in the campaign include Mary Fetchet, who lost her son, Brad, and who co-founded the nonprofit Voices of September 11; Cindy McGinty, who lost her husband, Mike; Gerry Bogacz, who survived the attacks at the World Trade Center; and Dennis McKeon, who founded the 9/11 support group Where To Turn soon after the tragedy.

Visit the 9/11 Day Observance Facebook page or website (911day.org) to participate in this national campaign for good.

WHAT WILL YOU DO THIS SEPTEMBER 11TH TO REMEMBER? 

Orange County-based nonprofit launches bike business

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Build Futures’ mission is to enable homeless, runaway and at-risk youth ages 18 to 24 to become independent, contributing members of the community by connecting them to housing, employment, education, medical and mental health care,  legal assistance, and life skills.  Their comprehensive case management approach connects youth to a trusted one-on-one supportive mentor and offers a customized self sufficiency plan.

In order to support their mission and help meet the needs of the youth they serve, Build Futures recently launched a social enterprise business – Bikes Build Futures.  The nonprofit business will receive donated bikes, recondition them and resell them to the public.

Through this business, Bikes Build Futures will be able to employ youth they serve and help them take the first step to self-sufficiency by fostering confidence in their ability to find and succeed at employment.

These deserving homeless youth will have an opportunity to learn basic job skills, receive bike transportation, and be able to apply basic life skills to help themselves into a better situation.

With the launch of Bikes Build Futures, the organization has an immediate need for donated or low-cost space and volunteers.  The space will be used to store donated bikes and provide a dedicated location for on-the-job training.  Volunteers are needed to help transport bikes and equipment.

Additionally, the organization is always looking for reliable, committed volunteers to serve as one-on-one youth mentors.

Did you know that there are 25,900 documented homeless students in Orange County public schools?  Or that youth ages 18 to 24 are the most underserved segment of the homeless population?  Or that 70 to 90 percent of the homeless population in Orange County has no housing available to them on any given night?

A study by Martha Burt of Urban Institute found that the longer a youth or young adult is homeless, the higher the risk that he or she will become a chronically homeless adult.  Homelessness has serious consequences and long-term implications for youth, young adults and communities. The hope of Bikes Build Futures is to play a significant role in shifting homeless youth off the streets and into independent, contributing members of society.

To volunteer or donate space, contact Kathy Tillotson at Kathy@BuildFutures.org.  For more information about Build Futures visit www.buildfutures.org