Archive | February, 2012

The Achilles Heel of the HIV Virus

29 Feb

For medical research, the biggest hurdle is bringing a vaccine to human trial. In 2010 HIV/Aids was responsible for approximately 1.8 million deaths worldwide. Today there are 33 million people living with HIV/AIDS. End HIV (The Abzyme Research Foundation) believes they have a vaccine. Now they need help bringing the research to a human trial.

Supporting research is at the heart of what End HIV does, and so confident are they in the research, they’ve boldly embarked on a remarkable mission: To eradicate HIV/AIDS in our lifetime. How did it all get started? In 2008, End HIV founder Zachary Barnett came across a CBS video featuring Dr. Sudhir Paul, a researcher at the University of Texas. In this video, entitled “Possible HIV Cure,” Dr. Paul hails “abzymes” as the “Achilles heel of the HIV virus.” It inspired Mr. Barnett, so much so, that a fortnight later he had already connected with Dr. Paul and began strategizing first steps.

Zachary and End HIV have spent the past three years hosting events and using public relations to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and abzyme research, and to raise funds to continue the research. Right now, they’re fundraising toward a $1.2 million goal for the first human trail for the vaccine. The goal of this trial is to validate the results of their preclinical studies that show abzymes as capable of destroying HIV’s ability to replicate in HIV+ human tissue samples.

What’s the potential? The world’s first effective HIV vaccine and improved treatment for the over 33 million HIV+ people worldwide.

End HIV signed up with Catchafire to recruit skilled professionals to join their mission and help them achieve their goals of raising awareness and research funds. They have already completed one Catchafire project and have two projects available:

  • The first is a Public Relations Plan that will support the foundation’s first PSA series, Voices For A Vaccine featuring Rachel Zoe. End HIV are seeking an exciting and talented PR professional to help them make this project as big and impactful as possible.

To apply to these projects, join End HIV and be a part of their important cause, follow the links above. If you’re not registered as a pro bono professional, first register here.


Media Alert – Boston Panel Event

15 Feb

Leveraging Pro Bono Talent to Build Organizational Capacity 

An Expert Panel Discussion in Boston

New York, NY – February 15, 2012 – We’ve assembled a panel of esteemed speakers from Boston’s social good sector. We will get together later this month and spend an evening discussing how to use pro bono to effectively build capacity within a nonprofit or social good organization.

Since coming on board in 2010, Prosperity Candle, a Boston-based organization, has successfully completed 11 Catchafire projects – including branding, marketing, social media, PR and strategy – to dramatically enhance their social impact. This amounts to 355 hours pro bono time and $82,500 in organization savings. Says Properity Candle co-founder, Siiri Morley:

Catchafire fills an important role in the social sector. As a young social enterprise start-up, Prosperity Candle struggles with limited resources and huge ambitions. Catchafire offers a perfect solution – with a small investment we can get fantastic talent that truly delivers on the proposed scope.”

The panelists:

  • Matthew Segneri, Advisor to the Mayor at City of Boston
  • Jennifer Aronson, Director of Nonprofit Services, The Boston Foundation
  • Selena Schmidt, CEO, Common Impact
  • Andrew Wolk, Founder – Root Cause
  • Rachael Chong, Founder and CEO, Catchafire

We’re inviting all nonprofits and social enterprises in the Boston area to join us for an evening of inspirational learning, sharing, meeting old friends and making new friends.

Where: New England Research & Development (NERD) Center
When: Monday, February 27th
Time: 5:00pm – 7:30pm
Fee: Free

5:00 – 6:00pm: Panel
6:00 – 7:30pm: Networking and Refreshments

About Catchafire:
Catchafire is the largest pro bono service provider in NYC. Through Catchafire, social good organizations can access professional services at rates that they can afford and professionals can access meaningful skilled volunteering opportunities. Last November we expanded into Boston and welcomed our Boston Founding 30 Members.

Read more about Catchafire here.


Press enquires:

Contact JC Darné
Phone: (646) 400-5659

Interested in attending? Book tickets here.

Mystery solved!

15 Feb

You may have noticed the ticker on our homepage that tallies the total value of services provided by Catchafire Pro Bono Professionals. You may have also noticed a sudden jump in the ticker. Last week it stood at $3,726,000. This week it’s smiling at $5,923,000. What’s up with that?

Well, we’ve recently added 4 new projects to our project menu. (Namely, Infographics, Website User Interface Design, Fundraising Plan Review and Pitch Deck.) Part of the process of updating our project menu is to revaluate all the existing projects, before any projects are added, an expert panel of Catchafire pro bono professionals reviews them.

After our most recent audit, we found many of the projects to be undervalued. So we dusted off our abacus, adjusted our calculations and discovered an additional $2,200,000 in organizational savings!

Thanks to our very busy tech team for updating the ticker to reflect the true value of services provided by Catchafire Pro Bono Professionals.

We have a winner!

1 Feb

Congratulations to Adoption & Foster Care Mentoring (AFC) for winning Catchafire’s 2012 Holiday Campaign. AFC rallied its supporters behind the campaign to walk away with the most votes and $2,012 towards Catchafire projects.

Catchafire is in the business of “matching” – matching skilled pro bono professionals with organizations that need their help. AFC is also in the business of matching. It made its first mentor-mentee “match” in early 2002, and registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit two years later. Today, the organization continues to serve both youth in foster care and those adopted out of care. And just as Catchafire’s success is largely attributed to the high caliber of its pro bono professionals, AFC has enjoyed growth and success over the years thanks to highly committed volunteer mentors.

AFC is one of only a handful of mentoring organizations in the US. That may be surprising, but often it’s the story behind the organization that explains its origins, its success and its passion. AFC exists today thanks to its founder Justin Pasquariello. After four years without a permanent place to call home, nine-year-old Justin was placed with a foster family. Beating the sad statistics shadowing foster care, Justin was fortunate to find a caring and permanent home. His experience never left him though, and nine years later, while a freshman at Harvard College, Justin developed a mentoring program serving the foster and adopted youth in the Boston area. In 2001, Justin joined forces with Massachusettes Mentoring Partnership and AFC was off the ground.

Catchafire is proud to welcome AFC as its newest member and looks forward to helping them build capacity as they build lasting mentor relationships for hundreds of children in Massachusetts.

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