A Nonprofit Icon with Business Model Questions

Columbia Journalism Review | June 25, 2018

In an age in which print subscriptions are increasingly rare, Consumer Reports remains a giant. As Karen Ho writes in the Columbia Journalism Review, “Consumer Reports is unusual in the American media industry for its nonprofit subscription business model, massive resources, and dedication to original reporting and research.” Its scale is impressive. The magazine “still produces 12 print issues a year, including one focused exclusively on cars, as well as an annual buying guide. In 2017, CR had 3.6 million print subscribers (more than People), who pay $30 a year, and 2.9 million online subscribers. Its online traffic in 2017 was 14 million unique visitors, up 17 percent from the previous year.”
One unique feature of Consumer Reports is that it has never accepted a single advertising dollar, according to CEO Marta Tellado. But, Ho observes, income “is down, subscriptions are falling, and the 83-year-old magazine faces an ever-growing assortment of advertising-driven and online-only competitors, including the Wirecutter, a site owned by the New York Times.” Consumers Union, notes Ho, “began in February 1936, after a group of striking employees at its predecessor, Consumers’ Research, were frustrated with working conditions.”

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NONPROFIT TECHNOLOGY

Jelenew sponsors the amfAR Gala Cannes charity dinner of the American Foundation for AIDS Research to help global AIDS research

Jelenew | May 30, 2022

American cycling brand Jelenew has been committed to charity. During the 75th Cannes Film Festival, Jelenew becomes the signature sponsor of amfAR Gala Cannes for the first time. The charity dinner aims to raise funds for the American AIDS Foundation Research (amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research) for AIDS research and raise public awareness of AIDS treatment philanthropy. On the evening of May 26th local time in France, the cycling pants-dress newlook co-created by Jelenew and Stéphane Rolland for amfAR will be presented with Armani, Oscar de la Renta, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Givenchy, Valentino, Giambattista Valli, Versace, Dior, Tom Ford, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Alaïa and many masterpieces from top brands appeared in the annual fashion show "Let's get married" hosted by Carine Roitfeld. These works will then be part of an auction led by legendary auctioneer Simon de Pury to raise money for amfAR and contribute to the global fight against AIDS. Di Liu, Jelenew's creative director, said that amfAR is a global leader in dedicating resources and research to effectively identify a cure for AIDS, which can help them fight AIDS. Jelenew is so proud of that. Jelenew and Stéphane Rolland specially crafted a cycling pants-dress newlook for amfAR for the charity auction, hoping to contribute to the charity cause against AIDS. This time, Jelenew and Stéphane Rolland cooperated with the theme of this amfAR Cannes Gala, "Let's get married," to create a cycling pants-dress newlook. Its inspiration comes from the 17th-century, the Spanish Golden Age. This is a "dark cycling bride" dress with feminine avant-garde. The paintings design the black dress of Stéphane Rolland by Goya and Velasquez, a sizeable black tunic with moiré stripes and sleeves are embroidered with Art Deco crystals. Jelenew is based on the first professional cycling pants with outer pads developed by Jelenew. It is inspired by the "Goddess of Victory" in the Louvre Museum and draws inspiration from the Spanish 17th-century noble knight pants to create a pair of cycling pants with feminine avant-garde. When sports technology meets the haute couture designer, we create an elegant, dignified yet independent, and confident "dark cycling bride." This ingenious cycling pants-dress newlook is sure to make an indelible impression on all those lucky enough to see it. As a professional cycling brand born for women, Jelenew has always regarded women's health and women's care as the brand's sense of social responsibility and mission. When tracing the evolutionary history of cycling pants, the Jelenew R&D team found that although there are significant structural differences and needs between men and women, in the past 100 years, male and female riders have worn cycling pants with built-in pads of the same structure. They know that cycling pants are the core elements that affect cycling comfort, sports performance, and health and hygiene index. Unscientific structure and design will obliterate women's health, comfort, and beauty. To allow female cyclists to enjoy healthy riding as well as male cyclists, former core member of Chanel Haute Couture Di Liu set up Jelenew's research and product development teams in Paris, France. According to the dismantling and differentiated needs of women's cycling force data, they introduced the moulage technique into the design of professional cycling pants. They led the development of the first professional cycling pants for women, namely Jelenew's 1+ 1 model of detachable outer padded cycling pants, including one pair of tight-fitting cycling leggings and one pair of detachable outer pad cycling shorts with built-in protection pad. The Jelenew x Stéphane Rolland cycling pants-dress newlook is based on the 1+1 model cycling pants. It is reported that the amfAR Cannes dinner includes cocktails, dinner, live performances by Christina Aguilera, Ricky Martin, and Charli XCX, an annual fashion show hosted by Carine Roitfeld and a live charity auction led by Simon de Pury. Hollywood icon Robert De Niro will be the guest of honor at the event. In addition, guests attending this dinner will also include a dream team, including Jelenew creative director Di Liu, Carine Roitfeld, Caroline Scheufele, Cynthia Erivo, Ever Gabo Anderson, Kate Hudson, LaKeith Stanfield, Laura Linney, Lauren Remington Platt, Michelle Williams, Milla Jovovich, Mohammed Al-Turki, Sam Bankman-Fried, Vanessa Hudgens, amfAR Board Co-Chairs T. Ryan Greenawalt and Kevin McClatchy, and celebrities such as amfAR director Vin Roberti. The amfAR charity dinner is one of the highest standard charity dinners. Every charity dinner attracts many celebrities, top stars, and supermodels everywhere. The gala has raised more than $245 million in cumulative funding for amfAR's critical AIDS research. Jelenew, who is keen on public welfare, is proud to participate in it and contribute to charity in the name of fashion. About Jelenew Jelenew is an American avant-garde cycling brand born for women. It creates the first cycling pants truly made for women in the world. It brings the groundbreaking combination of "Haute Couture and Sportswear" and carefully designs each product with "luxury moulage technique" to provide a more refined sports experience and promote a healthy lifestyle for cyclists to enjoy elegant and stylish suburban cycling. About amfAR and amfAR Gala amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world's leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and advocacy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested nearly $617 million in its programs and has awarded more than 3,500 grants to research teams worldwide. Celebrities frequently donate items to be auctioned off for the foundation. Past donors have included Uma Thurman, Karlie Kloss, and Milla Jovovich. The 25th annual gala embraced the #MeToo movement. 25 prominent women chaired it on stage and screen, namely: Alessandra Ambrosio, Poppy Delevigne, Linda Evangelista, Sylvia Fendi, Aileen Getty, Kate Hudson, Scarlett Johansson, Milla Jovovich, Heidi Klum, Daphna Krim (daughter of Mathilde Krim), Karolina Kurkova, Sienna Miller, Angela Missoni, Mary Parent, Katy Perry, Natasha Poly, Aishwarya Rai, Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson, Carine Roitfeld, Caroline Scheufele, Irina Shayk, Lara Stone, Donatella Versace, and Michelle Yeoh. Past items auctioned have included numerous photographs by Andy Warhol, Annie Leibovitz portrait sessions, stays in fashion moguls and celebrity houses, and 53-karat diamond jewelry. Heidi Klum notably donated her Bentley S3 convertible to garner one of the highest bids at €200,000.

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NONPROFIT TECHNOLOGY

OneCause Wins Multiple Best Place to Work Awards

OneCause | May 21, 2022

OneCause, an Indianapolis-based event and online fundraising software company, was honored with two "best places to work" awards in the Indianapolis Star Top Workplaces and Indiana Chamber Best Places to Work in Indiana programs. The programs highlight Indiana workplaces with exceptional company cultures and high levels of team engagement. This is the fourth year in a row OneCause has been recognized by the Indiana Chamber as an outstanding Best Place to Work and the first time being named a Top Workplace by the Indianapolis Star. Comprehensive employee surveys and a company culture review of policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics are the main drivers in determining which companies are honored in the Indiana Chamber's Best Places to Work program. The Indianapolis Star Top Workplaces program solely uses employee feedback to determine its list of honorees, highlighting how important it is to maintain a supportive company culture centered on employee well-being. Building an exceptional company culture means creating an environment where people feel supported, where their contributions are meaningful, and their talents valued. Companies are a reflection of their people — we need to embrace the wide range of experiences and viewpoints they bring and create a safe environment that fosters learning and innovation. We spend a lot of time listening to and acting on what our team needs, wants, and expects so we can maintain a people-first culture where they can flourish. It's an honor to be recognized by multiple programs for this ongoing effort." Steve Johns, OneCause CEO In addition to the third-party surveys utilized to determine top workplace winners, OneCause regularly conducts internal employee engagement surveys. The leadership team reviews results to create programs or take positive action based on the feedback. During the pandemic, they assembled a Future of Work taskforce to address the rapidly changing needs of an increasingly distributed workforce. "It's refreshing to work for a company where my voice matters," said Stefanie Zachary, senior consultant for enablement, learning and development at OneCause. "There isn't one small group deciding what our company culture looks like — we're all a part of deciding that. Seeing one of my ideas or a coworker's feedback being turned into a benefit, committee or community activity feels really good. That doesn't happen everywhere." Some recently implemented initiatives based on employee ideas and feedback include: Work-from-anywhere opportunities to provide improved work-life balance Ongoing professional development and management training to boost skillsets and provide a clearer path for progression An expanded set of company benefits, including a sabbatical for employees with 10 years of service, paid volunteer time off and paid parental leave Employee feedback and suggestions will continue to be sought and analyzed as staff and workplace needs evolve. OneCause has grown its full-time team 79% since 2020 and plans on increasing hiring over the next year. About OneCause OneCause is driving the future of fundraising with easy-to-use event and online fundraising solutions that help nonprofits improve the giving experience and raise more money. OneCause builds technology that optimizes everyday generosity, making it easier for nonprofit organizations to fundraise and for nonprofit supporters to give. Since 2008, OneCause has helped over 10,000 nonprofits raise more than $4 billion for their missions. Headquartered in Indianapolis, OneCause is committed to driving innovation in the charitable sector, bringing together nonprofit professionals across the world for the annual Raise Conference to exchange ideas that further fundraising.

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NONPROFIT MANAGEMENT

RAM Veterans Foundation Unrolls "Charities For Vets" Initiative

RAM Veterans Foundation Fundraising costs | May 23, 2022

Ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, the Robert Alexander Mercer (RAM) Veterans Foundation launched a new initiative called "Charities For Vets," a public information campaign to encourage effective management of veterans' charitable organizations and allow well-meaning Americans to donate with confidence. In 2021, more than $960 million dollars were donated to lower-rated veteran charities -nearly triple ($350 million) sent to well-rated veterans' groups. The RAM Veterans Foundation intends to make Charities For Vets the Consumer Reports of veteran charities. The problem is clear, and our goal is to provide facts and figures to not only divert donations from poorly-rated organizations, but also increase support and applaud those groups who are already excelling. Transparency is the best disinfectant, and by shining a bright light on the financial paper trail of these organizations, we can root out waste and abuse while better supporting the men and women who served our country so honorably." Peter T. Metzger, Chairman of the Advisory Board and retired Colonel in the United States Marine Corps. Charities For Vets uses publicly available information (including Form 990 tax returns) to group veterans' charitable organizations into three categories: Highly Recommended Honorable Not Recommended Four distinct metrics are examined to place an organization into one of the above categories: Overhead percentage: must be lower than 25% of total budget Joint accounting costs: must be less than 5% of total budget Fundraising costs: charities must keep 50% of money raised in reported solicitation campaigns Asset reserves: must be fewer than three years' budget Unlike other charity evaluation platforms, the RAM Veterans Foundation uses a more strict pass/fail approach. If an organization falls short of any of the metrics, they receive an automatic "not recommended." Founded in 2022, the RAM Veterans Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) organization named after Robert Alexander Mercer, who died on November 11, 1944 during the battle to liberate France from the Nazi occupation. The RAM Veterans Foundation is dedicated to RAM and those who have given life and limb in defense of America and our allies. "For any American looking to meaningfully give back this Memorial Day, please join us in this effort," added Metzger. "Putting an end to veteran charity scams is a high-impact way to show support for those veterans in need."

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NONPROFIT TECHNOLOGY

American Water Charitable Foundation Announces Last Call for Water and Environment Grant Applications

American Water Charitable Foundation | June 13, 2022

The American Water Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization established by American Water, the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company, announces last call for Water and Environment grant applications with a submission deadline of June 30, 2022. The Water and Environment grant opportunity, part of the Foundation’s Keep Communities Flowing Grant Program, supports projects or programs focused on clean water, conservation, environmental education, climate variability and water-based recreation projects, including splashpads. Eligible organizations can apply here. The American Water Charitable Foundation’s Keep Communities Flowing Grant Program supports impactful initiatives and programs throughout American Water’s national footprint. The Water and the Environment grant will fund efforts focused on our core passion – water – while engaging community members in learning how every drop counts.” Carrie Williams, president of the American Water Charitable Foundation The Keep Communities Flowing Grant Program focuses on three pillars of giving: Water, People and Communities. Within these pillars, three new grant opportunities will be available to eligible non-profit organizations throughout the year. Each grant cycle will be open for approximately 90 days. In addition to the Water and Environment grant, a Workforce Readiness grant opportunity will launch in July 2022 followed by STEM Education in October 2022. Since 2012, the American Water Charitable Foundation has invested more than $9 million in funding through grants and matching gifts that are important to our employees and positively impacting our communities. About American Water With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,400 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and regulated-like drinking water and wastewater services to more than 14 million people in 24 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to help keep their lives flowing. American Water Charitable Foundation The American Water Charitable Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides a formal way to demonstrate the company’s ongoing commitment to be a good neighbor, citizen, and contributor to the communities where American Water and its employees live, work and operate.

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