Semper Fi & America's Fund | January 04, 2022
Raise $20,000,000 in two months – that was the goal set by Semper Fi & America's Fund (The Fund) during its 10th annual Double Down for Veterans fundraising campaign. Thousands of supporters stepped up to donate the first $10 million which was then matched, dollar-for-dollar, by The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation. The challenge ran November 1 through December 31, 2021 and, this year, The Fund reached its $10 million goal a record nine days before the deadline.
Veterans who are wounded in the line of duty, and facing both physical and psychological battles, come home to a very different reality than the one they left behind. Although numerous programs and organizations exist to assist our nation's veterans, none measure up to the immediate and long-term support provided by The Fund."
Bob Parsons, Marine Corps Vietnam War Veteran and Founder and CEO of PXG
The donations will support critically wounded, ill, or injured service members, veterans, and military families across all military branches. The ultimate goal is for these service members and their families to create lives that are not defined by injury or illness but rather filled with hope for what the future holds.
"Bob and Renee Parsons have once again shown the incredible hearts they have for our military families," said Karen Guenther, Founder, President and CEO of Semper Fi & America's Fund. "The effect that their generosity has on our Fund family is, quite simply, extraordinary."
Inspired by the grit, courage, and sacrifice of our nation's service members, The Fund has provided immediate, needs-based financial assistance and tailored support to more than 27,000 service members and military families. This support can start the first moment of injury and last a lifetime.
"There are so many examples I could give of how The Fund has been there over the years. They help individuals like me regain that independence and have a new mission – that's really the biggest thing," Gabe said, a Marine injured in Iraq. "They truly are family. I love them like they were my own family."
From injury through recovery, The Fund's comprehensive programs improve the lives of wounded veterans, their families, and military family members with an injury or illness. Case managers, visiting nurses and entire support teams help those they serve to navigate complex medical and emotional recovery.
"The Fund's individualized support for service members is unique among veterans' organizations," said Renee Parsons, President and Executive Creative Director for PXG Apparel. "Even as challenges and new needs arise, The Fund is there, treating each hero under their care like family."
About Semper Fi & America's Fund
Semper Fi & America's Fund was started by military spouses, who immediately jumped in to provide bedside support to wounded and injured service members from Iraq and Afghanistan over 17 years ago. The Fund is run today by those same military spouses, and now includes a patriotic staff of veterans, community members, and volunteers, who are dedicated to providing hope, healing, and quality of life solutions through needs-based financial assistance, tailored support, and innovative programming.
About The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation
The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation offers support to nonprofit organizations successfully working to empower, educate, nurture, and nourish people during what is often the darkest time of their lives. Founded in 2012 by philanthropists and business leaders Bob and Renee Parsons to provide hope and life-changing assistance to the country's most vulnerable populations, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation offers critical funding at critical times to those in need. The Foundation's giving is driven by the core belief that all people – regardless of race, religion, roots, economic status, sexual orientation or gender identity – deserve access to quality healthcare, education and a safe place to call home.
McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP | March 08, 2022
Carson-area nonprofit Murdock Community and Care Services, Inc. is set to host a public town hall forum on March 12, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. at Carson Christian Outreach (17705 Central Ave.) to discuss the impact and next steps following the Dominguez Channel crisis that occurred in October 2021. Murdock Community and Care Services Director Brandi Williams-Murdock, who has been personally affected by the crisis has retained representation from McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP (MWA) -- a firm specializing in Class Actions, Mass Torts, and Racial & Economic Justice matters. All residents are welcome.
On October 3, 2021, Carson, California, became enveloped in a noxious odor which permeated homes and places of business all over the city. The complaint alleges that the stench reportedly emanated directly from the Dominguez Channel which was later discovered to have been polluted by runoff from a fire at a warehouse housing various health and beauty products. The hydrogen sulfide gas causing the odor reportedly sickened thousands of Carson residents and forced many to flee the city for hotels until the smell could be remediated. Help was slow to come. It took weeks before county authorities attempted to resolve the problem, and, after failing with ineffective treatments, weeks more before the odor was eradicated. In that time, citizens suffered from failing health and businesses experienced a significant drop in revenue.
While this was a public health crisis that took L.A. County weeks to solve for Carson and its residents, in the past we have witnessed the county be diligent in addressing similar crises for other areas."
Brandi Williams-Murdock, Carson resident
The lawsuit includes a claim against the County of Los Angeles for its role in this matter.
Town hall speakers will include Director Brandi Williams-Murdock discussing the overall lack of response to the Dominguez Channel Crisis, resulting community impact, and importance of community mobilization, Joseph L. Richardson, Esq., of McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP, speaking on the litigation process and legal options for affected residents, and Dr. Dora Barilla discussing the public health impacts of hydrogen sulfide exposure and recommendations for community members to protect the health of themselves and their families. There will also be an environmental health scientist expounding on the potential health effects of hydrogen sulfide and discussing a current survey documenting health symptoms related to the Dominguez Channel disaster. These speakers will be available to answer questions about the crisis directly from Carson residents and help explain options going forward. Carson residents who have questions about the Dominguez Channel crisis are welcome to attend at 10:00 a.m. on March 12, 2022, in the Carson Christian Community Center.
About Murdock Community and Care Services, Inc.
Murdock Community and Care Services, Inc. is a nonprofit organization in Carson, California, designed to bring community-advancing services to residents. Led by Director Brandi Williams-Murdock, Murdock Community and Care Services, Inc. has grown into a well-respected, data-driven institution with the sole mission to improve lives through access to mental health resources and community assistance programs and services. Murdock Community and Care Services, Inc. aims to engage residents in and around Carson to help elevate quality of life.
About McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP
McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP has a deep history of success for its clients, including a $203 million verdict against Wells Fargo Bank, recovery of over $1 billion for its clients, and over 100 contingency cases with recovery of $1 million or more. MWA maintains California offices in Ontario, San Bernardino, Palm Desert, and Irvine and supports its national practice with offices in Arizona, Illinois and New Jersey. For over 30 years, MWA has successfully represented clients involved in general complex and commercial litigation, as well as personal injury and class action matters.
TiDev, Inc. | May 04, 2022
On April 7th, 2022, Alabama software nonprofit TiDev was assigned intellectual property trademark rights along with repository control of the open source Titanium framework by publicly traded Arizona corporation Axway.
Titanium, released in 2008, was developed with over $90 million of venture funding. TiDev Board Chair Josh Lambert said he is thrilled the foundation for maintaining Titanium will be based in his hometown of Centreville.
As a long-time mobile developer here in Central Alabama building apps for iPhone and Android devices, it is a great joy and honor to see my favorite app development technology return to the Southern USA and locate in the community I call home."
Josh Lambert, TiDev Board Chair
The TiDev team has already started the process of merging bug-fixes/improvements into the source code. Lambert said plans are to ship the first community release of Titanium in May 2022.
"The Titanium SDK and related tooling has a long legacy of making app development a clean and streamlined process for both iPhone and Android devices," he said. "We have assembled an international board of directors with a depth of experience in working with the Titanium product and they are committed to ensuring that this software is maintained going forward as the next generation of apps are built on top of it."
Titanium is one of the oldest app frameworks maintained today. In 2013 Business Insider reported 10% of smartphones worldwide were running apps built with Titanium.
In 2016, Appcelerator was acquired by Axway who continued developing Titanium for several years, adding features and improvements to the software.
On Feb. 24, 2021, Axway announced they would no longer maintain the Titanium software. Shortly after Axway's announcement, a working group of long-time Titanium developers Josh Lambert, Jason Kneen, Chris Barber, Sebastian Klaus, Ray Belisle, and Richard Lustemburg, laid plans for a community foundation to maintain Titanium. Shortly thereafter an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) tax-exempt software foundation emerged with a registered business address in Bibb County.
Lambert said plans are to keep Titanium maintained for iOS/Android and adapt the software to other platforms.
"In addition to maintenance of existing code, we're taking a long and hard look at other platforms Titanium could be useful on. As app-driven computers are integrated into more and more places such as smart TVs, VR tech, new wearable devices, and of course — electric vehicles — we see the need for systems like Titanium to grow in the future. If we can find funding to add support for these platforms, you better believe we're going to try to support those too!"
TiDev is currently funded by individual donations and relies on them to maintain the framework. Donations can be made via Github Sponsors or Liberapay.
About TiDev, Inc.
TiDev, Inc exists for the following purposes:
To ensure the Titanium SDK is actively maintained and developed for years to come. This means rapid attention to bugs introduced with new iOS/Android updates, as well as addition of features to the SDK that enable full compatibility with new features added to the iOS and Android mobile operating systems.
To actively grow the Titanium developer community. This means organization of paid and volunteer efforts to make our documentation for the SDK amazing, make the technical process for a new programmer to work with the platform as simple as possible, and to encourage/boost/market programmers doing things such as live-streams demonstrating the capabilities of the platform.
To improve the reputation of the Titanium ecosystem. This means showing corporations and programmers alike that this platform is amazing, actively supported, and can be trusted for building new applications.
To create a trusted channel for getting support around the platform. This means marketing the free support provided via TiSlack and StackOverflow, as well as creating a paid enterprise support channel enabling large corporations to purchase dedicated support for the SDK from our core engineers.
To better communicate what modules built for Titanium are actively supported and can be trusted for development. This means keeping an active list somewhere, perhaps on the TiDev website, of what modules (and forks of modules) are actively maintained and useful. Aka, not abandonware.
21 & Change | February 18, 2022
21 & Change, Inc. President John Bodor, Officers, and the Board of Directors announced the appointment of 10 Florida leaders to the nonprofit's Advisory Council. The organization champions inclusion, education, and human rights for children and young adults with developmental disabilities in the state of Florida.
The following industry and community leaders were unanimously approved by the 21 & Change Board of Directors at the organization's monthly board meeting on February 10, 2022:
Sylvia F. Diehl, Ph.D., President of Knowledge Counts
Rep. Jackie Toledo, Florida House of Representatives (District 60)
Mayor Jane Castor, City of Tampa
Paul Anderson, President & CEO of Port Tampa Bay
Jorge Santeiro, Vice President & Co-Founder of Lawyers Autism Awareness Foundation
Councilman Luis Viera, Tampa City Council (District 7)
Rep. Allison Tant, Florida House of Representatives (District 9)
Commissioner Ken Hagan, Hillsborough County (District 2)
Arthur F. "Chip" Diehl III, Brig. Gen. USAF Ret., Diehl & Associates
Rob Kriete, President of Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association
"On behalf of the Board of Directors and everyone at 21 & Change, it's our sincere pleasure to thank each one of these phenomenal leaders for taking the time to support our mission and champion people with developmental disabilities. Your leadership and knowledge will be a great asset to our organization, our vision and mission, and we appreciate and respect your commitment to our community and great state of Florida," said Bodor.
21 & Change champions inclusion, education, and human rights for all people with developmental disabilities. The organization believes in the value of all human lives and that all should have the opportunity to discover their full potential while in the Florida public school system and after.
The overwhelming support and guidance from many of these leaders has been and will continue to be invaluable to our board, officers, partners and most importantly, our benefactors; all people with developmental disabilities in the great state of Florida."
Clayton Clemens, 21 & Change Vice-President
Yani Bodor, Co-founder of 21 & Change and Director of Advocacy said "The collective knowledge of the Advisory Council will provide missing expertise, spur innovation, and will add a necessary level of checks and balances to always ensure our vision, mission and position is true to our objectives. And as a parent of children with developmental disabilities, I can't express my gratitude enough to these individuals who help make our programs a reality by not just educating people but creating bipartisan change on a statewide level."
One of the driving forces and most successful services provided by 21 & Change has been the IEP Advocacy Scholarships. IEP Advocates, also known as Special Education Advocates, assist parents of children with developmental disabilities to obtain special education services and accommodations in their public schools. Although not attorneys, the advocates help the parents represent the child's legal rights to a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment under the current federal and state laws. This scholarship program benefits parents and their children who could not otherwise afford the professional services of an IEP Advocate. Many of our scholarship recipients are single mothers with limited or no income who have one or more children with developmental disabilities.
Clemens, the Director of Public Affairs at Florida Internet & Television also said, "21 & Change is working with the State of Florida and Florida legislators to push for public policy change that improves the quality of life and education access for students with disabilities. Having partnerships with progress-minded thought leaders, state legislators, and community stakeholders during the current legislative session will benefit policies that address student and individual needs are enacted and upheld."
According to Bodor, last year's legislative priorities for education policy issues included a national-level push for special education funding, and the state-level Students with Disabilities in Public Schools (S.B. 192 & H.B. 149) legislation that prohibited the practice of seclusion, strictly limited physical restraint, and initiated a pilot program for cameras in our Florida ESE classrooms. This successful push resulted in Governor DeSantis signing S.B. 192 / H.B. 149 into law on June 22, 2021.
21 & Change fundraises throughout the year for the "IEP Advocacy Scholarship Program." The goal for 2022 is to increase scholarship awards to 25 or more for Florida families experiencing financial distress to offset, or fully cover their needs. The organization's annual flagship fundraiser, Champions for Change, will take place in downtown Tampa at the Tampa Movement Lab on Saturday, May 21, 2022.
About 21 & Change
21 & Change is a Florida - based nonprofit organization built upon the values of selflessness, courage, shared understanding, and partnership. The nonprofit champions inclusion, education, and human rights for all people with developmental disabilities throughout Florida. 21 & Change works in partnership with other nonprofit and disability rights organizations for state and national public policy. The organization strives for individuals with disabilities to engage in full and meaningful lives, and community support of this vision.