Deadline Under Two Weeks Away for Applications for $100,000 Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation

The application deadline for the 2009 Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation is quickly approaching with submissions due July 1 at 3pm EDT. The Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University is encouraging interested nonprofits to complete their applications ASAP. All U.S.-based nonprofits are eligible for the award.

The first-place prize is $100,000. That's up from the $35,000 awarded in previous years, thanks to a generous grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation. The second-place award is $7,500, and the third-place prize is $5,000.

The award application is available on the Drucker Institute website (

Administered annually since 1991, the Drucker Award is granted to a social-sector organization that demonstrates Drucker's definition of innovation--change that creates a new dimension of performance. In addition, the judges look for programs that are highly effective and that have made a difference in the lives of the people they serve.

"Peter told us that the purpose of this prize is to find the innovators, whether small or large; to celebrate their example; and to inspire others," said Rick Wartzman, director of the Drucker Institute. "This is especially important this year as our flagging economy has left many nonprofits struggling financially while the needs that they're trying to meet are greater than ever."

The winners of this year's competition will be recognized at a gala dinner in Los Angeles later this fall. The dinner has been designated an official activity of the Drucker Centennial, which marks Peter Drucker's 100th birthday. (For more on the Centennial, please visit

Widely considered the father of modern management, Drucker not only consulted for major corporations, he advised the Girl Scouts of the USA, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and countless other social-sector organizations. He called the nonprofit "America's most distinctive institution."

The 2008 first-place Drucker Award winner, selected from more than 500 nonprofits that applied for the award, was KickStart International, a San Francisco-based organization. KickStart fights poverty in Africa by creating and selling simple tools that help poor entrepreneurs increase their income. Among its innovations is the MoneyMaker irrigation pump, which allows small-scale growers to produce high-value crops year-round and make the transition from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture.

The Gordie Foundation Announces Call For Entries For The 2009 Presidential Leadership Award

The Gordie Foundation and Outside The Classroom have announced the call for nominations for the 2009 Presidential Leadership Award. The $50,000 award recognizes a college or university president who has given freely of time and energy to create an environment where learning and campus life are not undermined by the misuse of alcohol.

The Gordie Foundation was founded by parents Leslie and Michael Lanahan after the loss of their son Gordie Bailey due to an alcohol overdose following a fraternity hazing incident. The Foundation’s sponsorship with Outside The Classroom to support this award will further expand their outreach efforts in informing students, parents, and educational institutions about the dangers of alcohol.

"Every year, a staggering 1,700 college students die of alcohol misuse, and nearly 100,000 more are victims of sexual assault as a result of heavy drinking," said Leslie Lanahan. "We are honored to recognize a strong leader with this award who can actively reduce these shocking statistics by changing the campus environment."

The recipient of the 2009 award will be honored at an award ceremony in Washington, D.C. with a $50,000 donation to his or her institution, and will be given the opportunity to promote environmental change on campuses nationwide via speaking engagements, published articles in higher education journals, and other initiatives. Dr. Jonathan Gibralter of Frostburg State University, the winner of the 2008 award, has demonstrated active leadership on the issue of high-risk drinking since his presidency began in 2006. His willingness to speak out on the issue has catapulted him into the spotlight as a model for college administrators who are fighting the dangerous culture of binge drinking on campuses.

"This is an ongoing battle, and one that must be started again with each new freshman class," said Gibralter. "This award and its ensuing attention has raised awareness and gained us credibility among our students and within our community, where we have the most work to do."

The recipient of the award will be selected by a review panel consisting of former university presidents, as well as representatives from the award development team, including; the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), American Council on Education (ACE), Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), NASPA, Outside The Classroom, The Gordie Foundation, and United Educators.

Nominations may be submitted by any professional staff member, either from the nominee's institution or from a different institution. Nominations for the 2009 Presidential Leadership Award will be accepted through June 30, 2009. To nominate an individual, please visit href="">

Reading Keeps Summer from Turning Kids' Minds Into Jello

As another long summer away from school approaches, many parents are wondering how to keep their children busy doing something constructive. While certain T.V. shows and video games can be educational, nothing seems to beat good old fashioned reading. Or for very young children, being read to. Summer reading programs are a great way to provide children regular opportunities to read books, play writing games, and listen to stories. While children might be more focused on the fun and prizes involved, educators know that these sorts of programs help little kids get ready to read and big kids raise scores.

A study conducted by Jimmy Kim at Harvard's Center for Evaluation found that reading four or five books over the summer months had an impact on fall reading achievement comparable to attending summer school. (Kim) Another study concluded that, "children who read more than a half an hour per day during the summer had significantly higher reading comprehension gains by the fall compared with children who did not." In addition, the study showed that "children whose parents read to them at least twice a week over the summer also improved comprehension skills more than children whose parents did not." (Phillips and Chin)

Public libraries all over the country are busily gearing up for the 2009 summer reading program "Be Creative at your Library". The program is sponsored by the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP), which is a grassroots consortium of states working together to provide high-quality summer reading program materials for children at the lowest cost possible for their public libraries. The CSLP began in 1987 in the state of Minnesota and has since grown to include libraries from virtually every state in the country.

"Be Creative at your Library" is not only a wonderful free program that promotes parent/child involvement, but also gives kids an opportunity to have fun while learning valuable skills. Program coordinators often incorporate puppet shows, crafts, skits, and other fun activities to help children interact with the characters they read about and make various subjects come alive for them in a meaningful way. There's even a theme song for "Be Creative at your Library", sung by the children's cartoon character Billy Gorilly. The song was produced by Flying Kitten Music whose unique songs, stories, and educational materials are prime examples of the creative learning tools parents and kids can discover through the library.

To find out the details about dates, times, and registration for this summer's program, call or visit your local library. And to learn more about effective and engaging children's educational materials visit these websites:

Finding May Provide Insights For Reading Disorders

Neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center have found that an area known to be important for reading in the left visual cortex contains neurons that are specialized to process written words as whole word units. Although some theories of reading as well as neuropsychological and experimental data have argued for the existence of a neural representation for whole written real words (an "orthographic lexicon"), evidence for this has been elusive.

"Reading relies on neural representations that are experience dependent," says senior author Maximilian Riesenhuber, PhD, of the GUMC Laboratory for Computational Cognitive Neuroscience. "Evolution did not provide each of us with a little dictionary in our heads."

Because the findings, published in the April 30 issue of Neuron, shed light on how written words are processed in the brain, they also provide clues as to how reading disorders such as dyslexia could arise, Riesenhuber says. "Previous studies have shown that this brain area is affected in reading disorders such as dyslexia, but it is unclear what the mechanisms involved are. Our data suggest that looking at the neuronal selectivity in this area might provide new insight. For instance, we would expect reading difficulties if neurons never become well tuned to words, making reading a slow, arduous process, just like it would be if reading all nonwords."

The GUMC researchers - Riesenhuber, first author Laurie S. Glezer, MA, and Xiong Jiang, PhD - set up a series of experiments with the participation of volunteers. They showed the participants pairings of words, and used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to measure brain blood flow in an area in the left visual cortex called the "visual word form area" while the participants performed a reading task.

Most other studies using fMRI to examine the "visual word form area" have used the averaged neuronal response in which many word stimuli are presented and the change in activity is measured, but this approach does not tease out the response neurons have to individual words, Riesenhuber says. However, by using the technique of fMRI rapid adaptation, in which the stimuli are shown in pairs, it is possible to measure the selectivity of neurons for individual words.

In their experiments, the researchers looked at the response between two visually similar normal words that shared all letters but one (i.e. 'boat' and 'coat') and found that the neural response to this condition "looked just like when participants saw two words that shared no letters, for example 'coat' and 'fish'," says Glezer. "This shows that the neurons in this area of the brain are very selective for individual words. Even though the two words shared all letters but one, there is no overlap in the neural representation, just like when the two words are completely different."

The researchers then looked at the brain's response to sets of nonwords in which the stimuli look like real words but have never been seen before (i.e. tarm). They found that the response to nonwords was not selective, with similar nonwords appearing to have overlapping neural representations. "This supports the idea that neurons in the 'visual word form area' are tuned to whole real words and that this selectivity is developed through experience with words," Glezer says.

The findings from this study lead to better insight into the normal reading process, providing a framework that in a next step can be applied to examine disordered reading, eventually leading to better detection, diagnosis, and treatment of reading disabilities.

The authors report no related financial interests.

The work was funded by a Faculty Early Career Development award to Riesenhuber from the National Science Foundation (NSF), and by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Karen Mallet
Georgetown University Medical Center

Girls Write Now's Spring Reading to Feature Today's Amy Robach and Author Jean Thompson

Girls Write Now (GWN), New York's premier creative writing and mentoring organization for high school girls, today announced its annual spring reading, the culmination of another year of developing New York's best young writers. On Sunday, June 14, please join us for an afternoon with participants in the program and the women who inspire them -- featuring Amy Robach, National Correspondent for NBC's Today and National Book Award Nominee Jean Thompson, whose new book is "Do Not Deny Me" (ISBN: 978-1416595632, Simon & Schuster, June 9) -- at the New School University's Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th Street (between 5th & 6th Avenues).

The event will take place from 4-6 p.m., and admission is free and open to the public. This program is co-sponsored by The New School's Department of Media Studies and Film.

Girls Write Now mentees, who range in age from 14 to 21, will read from their new anthology, tackling themes of family, personal identity, independence, sexuality and hundreds of high school days. This year's anthology features an introduction by Judy Blundell, winner of the 2008 National Book Award for Young People's Literature for her novel, "What I Saw and How I Lied."

"This is a wonderful opportunity to see the Girls Write Now community in action," said Maya Nussbaum, Executive Director of Girls Write Now.

Amy Robach serves as the Saturday TODAY anchor and as a national correspondent for Nightly News and TODAY. Robach joined MSNBC in September of 2003 as a daytime anchor. Since then, she has anchored coverage of major news events including the War in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2004 Presidential Election. Robach traveled to Washington, D.C. to cover both President Bush's second Inauguration and the Funeral of President Ronald Reagan. Robach began her career in broadcast journalism in Athens, Georgia, starting as an anchor at WUOG-FM, and later interning at WNGM-TV. Robach graduated from the University of Georgia with honors, and received a bachelor of arts in journalism. She lives in New York with her husband Tim and their two daughters.

Hailed as "one of our most astute diagnosticians of contemporary experience," (Boston Globe) who "rivals [Alice] Munro at her greatest" (Kirkus, starred review), Jean Thompson has emerged as "one of our most lucid and insightful writers" (San Francisco Chronicle). The unanimous critical acclaim for each of Thompson's works of fiction has been accompanied by a profusion of honors and awards: Who Do You Love was a National Book Award finalist, Throw Like a Girl made the New York Times' "100 Notable Books" list and topped the "Best of 2007 lists" in the San Francisco Chronicle and Chicago Tribune. With each succeeding collection, this gifted writer has garnered increasing attention from an ever-widening circle of admirers.

In "DO NOT DENY ME: Stories," her latest collection of short fiction (Simon & Schuster; June 9, 2009; paperback original; $14.00), Thompson excels at defining the unexamined lives that most of her characters have fashioned for themselves and the connections and compromises they make in attempting to assuage their dissatisfactions. Of her work, David Sedaris has said, "If there are 'Jean Thompson characters,' they're us, and never have we been so articulate and worthy of compassion." She lives in Illinois. More:

Girls Write Now Inc. (GWN) is New York's premier creative writing and mentoring non-profit organization, matching bright, creative teenage girls from the city's public high schools with professional women writers in the community since 1998. Through weekly one-to-one mentoring, monthly group genre-based workshops, and quarterly public readings, their mission is to provide a safe and supportive environment where low-income, at-risk girls can expand their natural writing talents, develop independent voices, and build confidence in making healthy choices in school, career and life. 100 percent of all seniors completing the program go on to college and GWN students have earned a total of 33 Scholastic Gold and Silver Writing Awards over the last three years. The organization was recently featured in both The New York Times and as part of the NBC Nightly News "Making a Difference Series."

In 2009, GWN was honored by The Union Square Awards for creating educational opportunities, building community, and promoting progressive social change; GWN was also chosen as a Coming Up Taller Semifinalist by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, distinguishing it as one of the top arts- and humanities-based programs in the country serving youth beyond the school hours. More:

Governor Perdue Launches Find-a-Book Summer Reading Program

Gov. Perdue today launched the Find-a-Book Summer Reading Program at Wrightsboro Elementary School in Wilmington to promote the retention and growth of student reading skills during the summer break. Studies show that students who don't read during the summer vacation are more likely to lag behind their peers' reading level when they return to school in the fall.

"The summer is a time for fun, family and a break from school – but learning is something we should do 365 days a year, seven days a week," said Perdue. "Through the Find-a-Book Summer Reading Program, we can encourage our kids have a good book in their hands even when they're away from the classroom. And we can make sure students continue to learn – and learn to love reading."

Perdue read to a third grade class, and talked to them about the importance and joy or reading. She demonstrated the new Find-a-Book Web site,, to parents, students and school staff. The Find-a-Book web site contains a searchable database that matches a book's text difficulty to a student's reading ability through a Lexile reading measure. In North Carolina, students in grades 3-8 as well as high school students taking the English I state assessment will receive a Lexile measure in their end-of-year test results. Lexile is the most widely adopted reading measure in use today.

Perdue urged school faculty to promote the summer reading program to parents, while encouraging community members to become involved in the summer reading program as volunteers and mentors. The governor has sent letters and informational fliers to principals and librarians. Parents will receive letters and information on the summer reading initiative with their child's end-of-year report card.

Public libraries across the state are also participating in the Find-a-Book Summer Reading Program. Library staff can assists parents and students with the Find-a-Book Web site and Lexile reading measures.

Today marked the 100 year anniversary of Wrightsboro Elementary.

iStorytime Turns the iPhone into a Library of Narrated Children's Books

The iPhone, today introduced iStoryTime, a series of illustrated and narrated children's book applications. The first three stories are now available for download on the iPhone App Store. Parents with an iPhone 3G, iPhone or iPod® touch can now turn their favorite portable device into educational entertainment for the kids (ages 2-7) when they're on the go. iStoryTime books are available globally (English only) for $1.99 on the iPhone App Store in 80 countries.

iStoryTime is a self-navigating and self-narrating book application that is drop dead simple for anyone to use. Even a two-year old. The app, which can be narrated by either an adult or child's voice, automatically flips the pages of the book while the child follows along. The words to the story are also included onscreen so beginning readers can make associations between the words they hear and the words they see. iStoryTime books available beginning today include:

* The Wiener Dog Magnet - The story of a monkey who buys a small dog magnet…with disastrous and hilarious results. Thanks to his creativity, the little monkey makes the best of the situation and saves the day. Written and illustrated by Hayes Roberts and narrated by Jen Muench and Laci Schooner.

* Shoe-per Duper Shoes - All kinds of grown up shoes come to life in this funny adventure. Written by Woody Sears. Illustrated by Zach Sather. Narrated by Jen Muench and Laci Schooner.

* The Brave Monkey Pirate - The story of a monkey pirate who has to go to the hospital and get a shot, but finds something magical that helps him become brave. Written and illustrated by Hayes Roberts and narrated by Jen Muench and Laci Schooner.

"iStoryTime provides mind-enriching entertainment for the kids while making life a little easier for mom or dad," said Graham Farrar, founder of iStoryTime and FrogDogMedia. "Instead of having to resort to movies or video games to occupy your child when you need a few minutes to finish the grocery shopping, are out at a restaurant, or stuck in traffic, you can give them a story they'll will want to hear and see again and again."

iStoryTime will publish new apps in the near future featuring a variety of stories from new and upcoming authors and illustrators. The next book in the iStoryTime library will be:

* Binky the Pink Elephant - The story of an elephant whose journey teaches her that being different can also be admirable. Written by Sonowa Jackson. Illustrated by Jaclyn Mednicov and narrated by Jen Muench and Laci Schooner

To download any of the iStoryTime apps, please visit the iPhone App Store. To find out more information about the iStoryTime children's book series for the iPhone, please visit

Asia Requests English-Language Books

English-language books--rigorous, college-level textbooks; vital reference texts; children's storybooks--are increasingly in demand across the Asia-Pacific region, according to Books for Asia. An initiative that supports Asia's development goals by providing needed texts from world-class publishers, Books for Asia is The Asia Foundation's longest running program. Across Asia, educators are requesting textbooks to provide English-language instruction, which is compulsory in much of the region. Many professional texts in the fields of medicine, law, and technology are published only in English. Books for Asia is asking publishers and donors to help support its effort to donate and deliver 1 million books this year.

"Knowledge transforms lives and communities, and educators want to empower their students. English-language skills allow students to boost their potential--potential for improved income, potential for a broader experience of life," said Melody Zavala, director of Books for Asia. "Across Asia, there is a thirst for English-language knowledge and skills, and it spans every class and sector of society."

To make publishers and international donors aware of the impact these books can have, particularly in remote and underserved areas marred by poverty or conflict, The Asia Foundation asked accomplished independent photojournalists Ted Wood, portrait contributor to Vanity Fair, and Josef Polleross, international contributor to The New York Times, and others, to tell the stories of real people and communities transformed by books. Their absorbing images, presented in rich, full-screen slideshows, were launched today at

The online exhibit, The Power of a Book: Books for Asia Stories, depicts four individuals in four different regions. One, photographed by Polleross, tells the story of Pranorn Maisan, a teacher in Phuket, Thailand, who helped distribute more than 90,000 Books for Asia-donated textbooks to tsunami-affected schools. In another, photographed by Wood in gripping, wide-lens images, Bat-erdene Khayanhyarvaa, a former governor of a province on the stark, Mongolian frontier who taught himself English using Books for Asia texts, says, "You can't succeed without thinking beyond your town." The exhibit is generously underwritten by AARP and Chevron.

Books for Asia is active across the Asia-Pacific and is particularly focused on assisting students and teachers in areas experiencing turbulence. Said Zavala, "Books allow education to go forward, despite disruptions and severely depleted resources. Books in conflict zones or post-natural disaster areas provide exposure to information outside one's region, inspiring the imagination and critical thinking skills--crucial for young people exposed to instability." In Sri Lanka, for instance, Books for Asia recently used boats and short inland flights to get books to schoolchildren in conflict-torn areas. In 2008, the program provided more than 100,000 books to over 775 institutions there, including primary and secondary schools, libraries, universities, and government agencies.

"Books provide life-changing insight and information for students who will soon be the adults that the rest of the world will work and collaborate alongside in business, science, technology, and diplomacy," said Zavala.

Books for Asia has identified priority nations where educators report an unmet need for textbooks and is asking for additional book donations and funds to support these students and their teachers.

In Pakistan, one third of the population is impoverished, and the literacy gap between boys and girls, is expected to widen. Still, English is required, and Books for Asia has been successful, through its staff and in-country network, in getting books to the turbulent Northwest Frontier Provinces and Balochistan. Tens of thousands of books are delivered to Pakistan annually, and donations include law books for female councilors who provide legal aid to women, and storybooks for children in earthquake-prone Kaghan Valley. To date, approximately 55,000 out of a goal of 60,000 have reached Pakistan.

In Afghanistan, security concerns and a lack of qualified teachers willing to work in many parts of the country remains an obstacle in supporting its 32.7 million people. Literacy rates remain low, hindering the country's development. In 2008, Books for Asia donated 40,000 new books to 170 institutions, including public libraries, schools, teacher training centers, and government ministries. Recently, Books for Asia provided materials and support for library construction at a girls' high school, including re-training of teachers. To date, 22,000 books have been shipped to Afghanistan--transport is coordinated through the unpredictable Khyber Pass--out of a target of more than 65,000.

In Thailand, although literacy rates are high, political upheaval and ethnic conflict in the south threatens the nation's education system. In 2008, Books for Asia donated more than 80,000 texts to nearly 750 institutions. The overall focus of the books effort is to help foster an atmosphere of stability and knowledge. To date, more than 22,000 texts out of a goal of 45,000 have been provided to students and educators.

"We are grateful to publishers and donors," said Zavala. "But we urgently need more texts, more funds. Our staff in Asia is committed and persistent--and we are successfully reaching remote, difficult areas."

In 2008, Books for Asia and its publisher partners donated $41 million worth of books and resources to more than 20 million students, from grade school to graduate school, in 18 Asian countries. Donations are coordinated by Asia Foundation experts to assure that books are high quality, useful, and culturally appropriate.

For more information, please visit

Teaching Children the Rewards of Sharing with Kindness

The bullying that our young people face every day - in their schools, on their playgrounds and even in their homes - leads to a host of social and personal maladies. Author Kevin Bailey wrote Anthony Meets The Playground Bully to aid in the elimination of bullying in all of its forms.

Anthony is a young boy who is faced with one of children's biggest fears: the playground bully. Today, Anthony must rescue his best pal Ryan from the clutches of said tyrant. One major problem…the bully is much larger than both he and Ryan and Anthony realizes that he must use his brain, not his fists, to be successful.

Take an interesting journey with Anthony and his pals to see just how cleverly our hero sets about his rescue. For every parent or child that has ever had to deal with a bully, this is a must-read. The author's intent, however, is that this not be just the standard David and Goliath story. He accomplishes this by sharing with his readers insight on what may cause an individual to bully in the first place, thereby giving understanding to the bully in his story. Though very entertaining, the narrative delivers an important lesson that Anthony has learned on the lap of his grandfather. Author's suggestion: read it with a friend, or many friends.

Author's Website:

Publisher's Web site: ...
ISBN: 978-1-60860-072-4 / SKU: 1-60860-072-6