Elfenworks Summer 2011 Newsletter

A Night of Hope

In Harmony with Hope 2011 Honorees

It is up to us—everyone in this room, everyone in this state, everyone in this country—to change the future for the most vulnerable among us. And if we do not, who will?
Brenda Krause Eheart, Founder, Generations of Hope Development Corporation and 2011 In Harmony with Hope Honoree

The fifth annual In Harmony with Hope Award festivities were given an official send-off when September 20, 2011, was officially proclaimed "In Harmony with Hope Day" by Mayor Terry Nagel of Burlingame, California. That evening, The Elfenworks Foundation honored three remarkable social entrepreneurs with the In Harmony with Hope Award.

Speaking before a packed house at the Kohl Mansion in Burlingame, California, emcee Danny Glover spoke of the honorees: "Imagination, passion, action is the through-line for each of their stories." Danny Glover is an acclaimed actor who starred in the blockbuster Lethal Weapon franchise. Glover is currently serving as the UNICEF ambassador.

At the ceremony, Elfenworks and Wells Fargo announced the inauguration of a new partnership. Wells Fargo joined with Elfenworks as a sponsor of the annual event, with a $10,000 contribution. Both organizations look forward to growing their partnership in coming years.

A Moment's Worth

The ceremony also featured an acoustic performance by A Moment's Worth, the 2011 winners of the Elfenworks Social Justice Prize in the College Battle of the Bands. Playing their winning song, Dedicate, the band's performance visibly moved the assembled crowd.

The 2011 In Harmony with Hope honorees are

Brenda Eheart, Generations of Hope Development Corporation, Champaign, IL
Brenda EheartIn 1994, Eheart spearheaded the transformation of a decommissioned military base into a community where retired people could live rent-free in exchange for raising foster youth in a supportive environment. Since Eheart launched Hope Meadows, the model has achieved incredible results and expanded across the country. Now, Eheart is escalating the concept to develop communities based around not only caring for foster youth, but also "frail elderly," military veterans and disabled adults.

Jim McCorkell, Admission Possible, St. Paul, MN
Jim McCorkellJim McCorkell grew up poor and struggled to afford college — but as soon as he finished his education, he started Admission Possible to help other low-income youth follow his path to higher education. Now kids he helped when they were struggling through high school are putting high-earning careers on hold and returning to their old neighborhoods to tutor the next generation. Although many of the program's students are from families with no history of college education, 98 percent of Admission Possible's students are admitted to college and 80 percent earn their four-year degrees. (Admission Possible is changing its name to College Possible in January 2012.)

Bill Milliken, Communities In Schools, Washington, DC 
Bill MillikenBill Milliken puts a new twist on the old expression "It takes a village to raise a child" by building networks of schools, families and community leaders to support at-risk youth. Communities In Schools, the program he started in Harlem four decades ago and has grown to serve more than 1.3 million kids in 3,000 schools, works by placing site coordinators who act as "routers" to ensure that each student is getting appropriate support and that no student falls through the cracks.

"Each of these winners has been incredibly successful at helping vulnerable individuals overcome daunting barriers and lead happier lives," said Dr. Lauren Speeth, Elfenworks' founding CEO. "Their unwavering dedication to solving society's most pressing problems in their own backyards represents the inspirational power of hope in action that Elfenworks is committed to supporting."

The In Harmony with Hope Award honors the accomplishments of leaders who are providing inspiration and hope in the face of difficult times.

You can view the ceremony in full at elfenworks.org/streaming and you can see the videos introducing each of this year's honorees and our look back at the first five years of awardees on our YouTube channel: youtube.com/elfenworks.

What People Are Saying...

butterflyTruly an inspiring event. All of us...were struck by the passion and dedication of the award recipients. It did give me hope knowing that there are intelligent solutions to our society's problems and that one person can make a difference.

butterflyAt the gathering after the ceremony, we reflected on how fortunate we all are and what we could do, both personally and professionally, to help those less fortunate. I believe the more people that discover Elfenworks and the organizations it supports, the more people that will be inspired to help.

butterflyA beautiful and inspiring event. I only wish that more people could hear the stories you shared with us...instead of the dire news we are fed every night. Please keep up the good work.

butterflyWhat a great event. I wrote to Dianne Feinstein this morning to advocate for SS and Medicare remaining intact. I told her about last night's event and how I was inspired by GHDC model. I spun out a business plan for using retired or long-term unemployed techies to sniff out fraud. It was fun. You are such a catalyst for good. We all had such a good time and the ride home was full of great conversation. We are already looking forward to next year's awards!

Know Someone Who Is Creating Meaningful Change?

Nominate him/her for the In Harmony with Hope Award. Simply click here to download the PDF form.


Stanford wins National Poverty Research Center grant

Great news from Our partner The Stanford Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality (online at inequality.com), which has received a National Poverty Center research grant from the Department of Health and Human Services. Elfenworks has supported the Center from its inception, celebrating its launch at the Concert for Hope.The honor of being a National Poverty Center comes with a grant of $4 million dollars.


FairTruth Unconference

Miss the unconference 11/11/11? Watch it at fairtruth.org and ring in at the online forum with your opinion.


CPR Publishes First Joint Effort

The Great Recession is the first publication of the Collaboration for Poverty Research (CPR), an effort spearheaded by The Elfenworks Foundation to bring together great minds from Stanford and Harvard universities to develop and evaluate national policy on poverty and inequality in America. The book, edited by David Grusky, Bruce Western, and Christopher Wimer, offers the first authoritative assessment of how the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression is affecting individuals and families, job earnings and poverty, political and social attitudes, lifestyle and consumption practices and charitable giving. Available now at fine bookstores near you!


LVS RideRide to End Poverty Surpasses Goal

A group of dedicated bicyclistsriding to raise awareness about and funds for povertydipped their rear tires in the Pacific Ocean and left Oregon in mid-June, and arrived in New Jersey, 3,600 miles later, on schedule, in mid-August. Along the way, day riders, volunteers, and strangers eager to ease their journey met up with and cheered on the band of core riders. Their goal was to raise $100,000 along the way. They surpassed that goal, just as so many of their expectations were exceeded on their nine-week odyssey. And, to come full circle, they dipped their front tires in the Atlantic Ocean at journey's end. Elfenworks is proud to have been their first sponsor. Look for a full-length documentary of their remarkable ride, coming soon.

It's Awards Time!

We've been giving them and we've been getting them. In October, the International Academy of the Visual Arts awarded five W3 awards to The Elfenworks Foundation for its website. The W3 was created to recognize the power of web creativity. In all, Elfenworks was awarded two Gold prizes and three Silvers:



Christopher Vas accepting an award from Swan Film Festival organizer Lynette Morley.Faces of Poverty was named the grand prize winner of the Swan Film Festival's inaugural Crystal Swan Award on September 25 in Perth, Australia. Just one month later, the film was selected to receive a "Juror's Award" for the best American documentary feature in the "Non-Millennium Development Goals" category at the United Nations Foundation's first annual Global Wake-up Film Festival in Chicago, Illinois.

Mr. Christopher Vas, Assistant Director of Workforce Innovation, Tertiary, Skills & Productivity Group with the Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workforce Relations, represented The Elfenworks Foundation in Australia and accepted the Crystal Swan Award on our behalf. His moving remarks and the film's important message inspired the audience: one member vowed to provide food daily to a homeless man she passes routinely.

Christopher Vas accepting an award from Swan Film Festival organizer Lynette Morley.The Global Wake-up Film Festival was held by the United Nations Association of USA (UNA-USA), a program of the United Nations Foundation. UNA-USA has as its mission to raise public awareness of the United Nations' values and support the efforts of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) created by the United Nations' 193 member states, who have agreed to achieve eight goals (including eradicating poverty) by 2015. Elfenworks team member Kelly Madsen was in Chicago for the film festival awards presentation.


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