Business, Free News Articles, Funding and Investment, Software

Lender Price Receives Strategic Investment Led by Argentum to Support Rapid Growth

PASADENA, Calif. -- Lender Price, a leading provider of cloud-based mortgage pricing and digital lending solutions, announced today that it has received a strategic investment led by Argentum with participation from First Analysis and existing investor Costner Lake Investments. The investment will further accelerate Lender Price's rapid growth by supporting product development, sales & marketing, and customer service capabilities.

Many mortgage originators and lenders use decades-old technology to run their core operations, resulting in costly process inefficiencies and missed revenue opportunities. Lender Price's innovative technology allows lenders to easily manage and streamline key parts of the mortgage process, including origination, pricing, underwriting, and secondary marketing. Along with added functionality, Lender Price's products are built on a modern tech stack that makes them faster, more configurable, and easier to integrate than competing solutions.

Lender Price's product suite of SaaS solutions is anchored by an advanced enterprise product, pricing, and eligibility (PPE) engine that allows lenders to make pricing-related adjustments across all of their channels in real-time. The pricing engine powers the company's other automated mortgage solutions to create a tightly integrated digital lending platform that also includes: a marketplace connecting brokers to up-to-date pricing of hundreds of wholesale lenders, a digital point of sale that simplifies the origination process, and a first-of-its-kind underwriting and pricing engine for non-agency mortgages (FLEX).

Currently, Lender Price supports 150+ lenders, thousands of brokers, and 50,000+ loan products. While it serves customers of all sizes, it works with some of the country's largest lenders including Mr. Cooper, Flagstar Bank, American Financial Resources (AFR), PennyMac, Rocket Mortgage, Freedom Mortgage, several non-agency lenders, and two of the top ten commercial bank mortgage lenders.

"This investment will enhance our ability to offer industry-leading technology and services that meet the growing needs of originators and lenders," said Dawar Alimi, Co-Founder and CEO of Lender Price. "Given Argentum's track record of successfully scaling B2B SaaS companies, fintech experience and extensive industry network, we could not be more excited to partner with them to pursue the large opportunity ahead of us."

Lender Price experienced rapid growth in 2021 and recently reported that it processes over $20 BN in locked loan volume through its platform every month.

"Lender Price's software is critical in helping lenders rapidly execute profitable lending strategies with ease. With a highly advanced technology platform and experience supporting a diverse customer base that includes some of the industry's largest and most sophisticated mortgage lenders, the company is helping the mortgage industry modernize its workflows and process burgeoning loan volumes," said Daniel Raynor, Managing Partner at Argentum.

"From lead to loan lock and beyond, Lender Price's products provide value at each step of the mortgage process. We look forward to supporting Dawar and his team as they continue to scale the company and establish themselves as a leader in origination, pricing, and underwriting technology," added Sohum Doshi, Vice President at Argentum, who will join Lender Price's Board of Directors in connection with the investment.

About Lender Price

Lender Price is a California-based developer of mortgage technology, including an advanced product, pricing, & eligibility (PPE) engine, digital lending point-of-sale (POS), and non-agency automated underwriting engine. Lender Price provides all types of mortgage lending institutions - wholesale and correspondent lenders, banks, credit unions, and mortgage brokers - with advanced technology designed to eliminate friction, increase transparency, and effectively engage with borrowers. More information about Lender Price can be found at: https://lenderprice.com

About Argentum

Argentum is a New York-based growth equity firm that helps scale bootstrapped B2B software, technology-enabled and business services companies. The firm invests in companies that are seeking capital to accelerate growth, fund acquisitions and / or generate shareholder liquidity. Over its 30-year history, Argentum has invested in over 90 companies and supported more than 200 add-on acquisitions. To learn more, visit: https://argentumgroup.com/

Related link: https://lenderprice.com/

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Business, Free News Articles, Funding and Investment

Expetitle Closes $2.3 Million Seed Plus Round

MIAMI, Fla. -- Expetitle, a digital title company and a leader in remote real estate closings, announced today it has closed their $2.3 million Series Seed Plus financing round. The investment will help the company aggressively expand its sales and marketing efforts.

The oversubscribed round included participation from Beagle Ventures, LAB Ventures, TBD Angels, and several prominent family offices including the owners of one of the largest home purchasers in the US. Other contributors include Patrick Dwyer, Head of Silicon Valley Bank Miami, and Shai Goldman, Director at Brex.

Pablo Vicuña and Pedro Cabezon of Beagle Ventures led the round, stating, "We are excited to partner with Expetitle for its strong management team and the incredible market opportunity. We have been impressed with both the product and the organization so far, and know we can bring the expertise to help take Expetitle to the next level." Luke Burns led the investment from TBD Angels adding, "We're excited Expetitle is going to be joining the TBD portfolio. The mixture of their value-proposition, team, and unique go-to-market strategy lines them up for a really big opportunity in a space ready for disruption."

"Expetitle is disrupting title insurance from the ground up," said Sean Daly, the company's CEO and co-founder. "Consumers today can find a home online, tour it virtually, and arrange financing from their laptop, but when it comes to the closing process, most transactions still happen in a lawyer's office with a thick stack of paper. Expetitle has changed that with a fully remote process, giving buyers, sellers, and their agents everything they need with just a click of a button. With this new capital, we will be rolling out our solution to new states and with new partners across the country."

About Expetitle:

Founded in January 2019, Expetitle was born out of the LAB Ventures startup studio. Expetitle is a multi-state title company, operating in Florida, Georgia, and Texas, that delivers fully digital and hybrid closings through one secure collaborative platform that adds transparency to the entire closing process. Expetitle's mission is to provide a better, transparent closing experience for buyers, sellers, and their agents and brokers. Today's consumer is used to doing everything on their phone in real-time, why should buying a home be any different? To learn more about Expetitle, visit https://www.expetitle.com/.

Related link: https://www.expetitle.com/

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Business, Environment and Ecology, Free News Articles, Funding and Investment

US-based Carbon Direct invests €15M ($17.7M) for 7% stake in Calix’s LEILAC business

SYDNEY, Australia -- Multi-award-winning Australian technology company Calix Limited (ASX: CXL) ("Calix" or the "Company") is pleased to announce global decarbonisation investor Carbon Direct Capital Management has invested €15m for a 6.98% equity stake in Calix subsidiary, the LEILAC Group, which is dedicated to the commercialisation and ongoing development of Calix's LEILAC CO2 capture technology.

Highlights:

* €15M investment in Calix's LEILAC business by Carbon Direct, one of the world's leading decarbonisation investors

* Investment will accelerate the development and deployment of LEILAC, which uses Calix technology for cement and lime decarbonisation

* Carbon Direct will advise LEILAC on areas including capital markets, regulations, commercial development, and technical development, helping it scale the business

* LEILAC technology has been successfully piloted at 25,000tpa scale and is now being scaled up to 100,000tpa, with several commercial pilot plants under development

* Investment implements Calix's equity farm-in strategy to create focussed, commercialisation businesses for its core technology

* Calix will host an investor webinar at 10.00am (AEST) Thursday 16 September with CEO, Phil Hodgson. Click here to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_unJvaUQ0TdONM9yA30XgwA

Calix will continue to own the remaining 93% of the LEILAC Group.

In addition, as part of the transaction, Calix has entered into a licence agreement with the LEILAC Group under which it will retain 30% of royalties earned by the LEILAC Group from deployment of the technology, regardless of Calix's equity stake in the LEILAC Group. The LEILAC Group will operate autonomously, with its own management team and a Board composed mostly of Calix directors, with one appointee nominated by Carbon Direct.

The LEILAC Group, comprising Calix (Europe) Ltd (UK) and its subsidiaries, is the exclusive licensee of Calix's Low Emissions Intensity Lime and Cement (LEILAC) CO2 capture technology. LEILAC technology was successfully piloted at 25K tonnes per annum scale at HeidelbergCement's plant in Lixhe, Belgium, and is being scaled up to 100K tonnes per annum scale in the "LEILAC-2" project for a HeidelbergCement plant in Hannover, Germany. Further commercial pilot plants for lime production are under development with Tarmac, the UK division of CRH, and AdBri in Australia, among others.

US-based Carbon Direct's investment arm, Carbon Direct Capital Management, makes direct investments into leading carbon removal and utilisation technology companies. The firm also operates a scientific advisory business, which advises leading corporations on how to fulfil their carbon removal and utilisation commitments. Carbon Direct's advisory work spans 28 countries and includes clients such as Microsoft and Shopify.

Pottinger acted as financial and strategic advisor to Calix on this transaction, and Hamilton Locke acted as legal advisor.

Carbon Direct investment to accelerate LEILAC technology uptake

Along with existing capital already invested in the LEILAC Group, Carbon Direct's investment will be used by the LEILAC Group to accelerate and continue to de-risk deployment of the LEILAC technology, both technically and commercially. Technically, additional resources will be deployed in engineering and research to speed optimisation. Commercially, new resourcing in business development, especially project development and CO2 use or sequestration, will be deployed to help develop complete project solutions for customers. A new CEO will be appointed to run the business as a stand-alone entity.

The investment marks the conclusion of work led by Pottinger to accelerate commercialisation of the LEILAC technology and identify the optimal financial and strategic partner(s) to support this the business' critical next phase of development.

Calix Limited CEO Phil Hodgson said the deal represented a critical milestone in Calix's stated strategy of seeking equity "farm-ins," after initial development undertaken by Calix, to accelerate and deploy its underlying platform technology into each line of business, with Calix remaining head licensor.

"As each of these businesses become independent commercial entities, they will remain joined at the hip" technically with Calix, which will continue to support development of the core intellectual property. Over time, growing royalty income from these companies will also support the development of new applications of the IP and associated technologies," Mr Hodgson said.

He said the investment by Carbon Direct will help accelerate the development and deployment of the Calix Technology for cement and lime decarbonisation.

"The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report was unequivocal in saying that to reach the stated 2030 goals on climate change, CO2 emissions have to be reduced. LEILAC Technology is an option that is being deployed now to meet this urgent need.

"Carbon Direct coming on board is a strong vote of confidence in Calix's LEILAC decarbonising technology, following on from endorsements and partnerships with industry leaders such as HeidelbergCement, Cemex, Lhoist and Solvay

"The investment will assist us in accelerating the deployment of the technology into the carbon capture and storage landscape, with additional resources covering technology research and development, CO2 logistics, use and storage, and whole-of-project expertise, while our technology gains more exposure in global markets outside of Europe.

"The deal also represents our first material portfolio transaction in our stated strategy to farm-in equity to deploy our technology commercially. We believe this strategy adds speed and focus at a critical time in the technology commercialisation journey, and leaves the head company to focus on what it does best - supporting our technology and developing the next global, disruptive applications."

Carbon Direct founder and CEO Jonathan Goldberg said Carbon Direct invested in companies that could deliver both commercially viable solutions and solve big climate problems.

"We are very impressed by the technical and commercial rigor of the LEILAC team, and plant partners are outspoken in their excitement about LEILAC. We are delighted to support Phil, Calix, and the LEILAC Group as they seek to scale LEILAC into cement and lime plants around the world," Mr Goldberg said.

"Both Carbon Direct's investment team and its scientific advisory team, which now includes 46 globally renowned CO2 scientists and project managers, are available to assist the LEILAC Group on subjects including capital markets, regulations, commercial development, and technical development. Our entire firm is dedicated to helping technologies such as LEILAC to scale."

Pottinger Executive Chairman Nigel Lake added: "Great engineering and technology alone are not enough: to have a transformational impact on an entire global industry takes a dedicated and well-resourced business. The investment by Carbon Direct marks a critical inflexion point for both Calix and the LEILAC Group as decarbonisation of the construction sector begins in earnest."

Carbon capture is needed to reach the UN climate goals

Global decarbonisation efforts are accelerating. For example, in June 2019, the UK Government became the first major economy to commit to net zero CO2 by 2050 and is heavily supporting decarbonisation efforts through funding under the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio. In 2021, the European Union unveiled a plan to slash its carbon emissions by 55% before 2030 and impose border tariffs on countries, including Australia, that do not have some form of carbon price.

Cement production is the world's single biggest industrial cause of carbon pollution, responsible for up to 8% of global emissions, producing more than 4 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. Cement is the primary ingredient in concrete, the second most used material in the world after water. Meanwhile, the global production volume of lime was approximately 330 million tonnes in 2020, with myriad applications beyond cement including the manufacture of aluminium, asphalt, copper, glass, gold, lithium, plasterboard, silver, solar-grade silica, steel, table salt and toothpaste. Lime is also used in agriculture and for water and sewage treatment.

Making 1 tonne of lime or cement clinker produces approximately 1 tonne of CO2

LEILAC's Breakthrough carbon capture technology

Between 50 to 60% of cement CO2 emissions derive from the process of heating or "calcination" of limestone, the chemical reaction that converts limestone (CaCO3) into lime (CaO) and CO2. These emissions are therefore unavoidable and a low-cost capture solution is essential.

The patented LEILAC kiln design separates CO2 emissions arising during lime and cement production without significant energy penalty. The LEILAC kiln is being developed to use a variety of input fuels and is also easily electrified, enabling complete decarbonisation of production by switching to renewable energy.

LEILAC technology was successfully piloted at 25ktpa scale at HeidelbergCement's Lixhe Cement plant in Belgium, and is being scaled up to 100kTpa scale in the "LEILAC-2" project for a HeidelbergCement plant in Hannover, Germany. LEILAC-2 is targeted to be in production by late 2023 / early 2024, and is being funded by €34m from the EU Horizon 2020 scheme through a combination of cash and in-kind contributions from industrial partners. In addition to HeidelbergCement, industrial partners helping in developing the technology include Cemex, Tarmac, Cimpor, Lhoist, Engie and Solvay.

Six commercial-scale cement and four commercial scale lime follow-on projects are being developed with several interested parties, with two projects now moving into more detailed planning under previously announced heads of agreement with CRH's UK subsidiary Tarmac and Adbri in Australia.

About Carbon Direct LLC

Carbon Direct provides both scientific advisory services and investment capital to the carbon removal & utilization ecosystem. Our advisory business works for clients to fulfill their carbon removal & utilization commitments. Carbon Direct's team of world-renowned carbon scientists has a nuanced understanding of the true risks and opportunities of emerging and mature carbon removal & utilization technologies. Our investment business makes direct investments into leading carbon removal & utilization companies. Carbon Direct was founded in 2019 by Jonathan Goldberg and has offices in New York City. To learn more, visit http://www.carbon-direct.com/

About Calix

Calix is a team of dedicated people developing a unique, patented technology to provide industrial solutions that address global sustainability challenges.

The core technology is being used to develop more environmentally friendly solutions for sustainable processing, advanced batteries, crop protection, aquaculture, wastewater and carbon reduction.

Calix develops its technology via a global network of research and development collaborations, including governments, research institutes and universities, some of world's largest companies, and a growing customer base and distributor network for its commercialised products and processes.

Because there's only one Earth - Mars is for Quitters.

Website: https://www.calix.global/

Twitter: @CalixLimited

YouTube: CalixLimited

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Caption: Calix decarbonising technology at the LEILAC plant in Belgium.

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Advertising and Marketing, Business, Free News Articles, Funding and Investment, Software

Whiteoak Invests in Amplify-Now to Accelerate Global Expansion and Development

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- Amplify-Now, a leading provider of Strategy Execution Management software headquartered in Adelaide, Australia, announced that Whiteoak, a growth-equity firm based in Sydney, Australia, plans to invest in their company to help spur global growth and product development ambitions. The investment news followed Amplify-Now's recent expansion into its North American headquarters, near Los Angeles.

"We wanted to accelerate the success we've achieved with an investment firm that provides a combination of capital and deep strategic support," Matt Williams, CEO of Amplify-Now, says. "Whiteoak has a successful track record for supporting Australian-headquartered companies to succeed in global expansion."

The investment is the second in the $100M Whiteoak Growth Fund, securing a majority stake in Amplify-Now.

Greg Garvin, Whiteoak's Managing Director, says that, "Amplify-Now has achieved global success by offering a software solution that provides a single source of truth to help manage complex transformation programs within large organizations. Clients love that the solution is intuitive and easy to set up and can be configured for many applications including: Business Transformations, Post-merger integrations, ESG change programs and Digital Transformations."

Other companies backed by Whiteoak include: Lack of Color (also in the fund), a fashion label; SkinKandy, a jewelry and piercing business; Priava, a venue management platform; Status Anxiety, a popular handbag label; and The Healthy Mommy, an online weight loss and health community for mothers.

About Amplify-Now

Since 2013, Amplify-Now has offered Benefits Realization and Strategy Execution Management (SEM). Its SEM software enables organizations to execute strategies that create business value for their customers and investors. The software supports transformation programs from end-to-end, supporting portfolio planning through value realization.

To support a global roster of corporate and consulting clients, it's headquartered in Adelaide, Australia with offices in Los Angeles, CA and West Sussex, UK.

For more information: https://amplify-now.com/

About Whiteoak

Whiteoak was founded in 2016 by Richard Whiteoak as an independent investment firm with a distinctive approach to investing capital in private Australian companies. Its mission is to accelerate the growth of high-quality companies by providing capital and deep strategic support.

For more information: https://www.whiteoak.com/

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Boating, Marine and Maritime, Business, Free News Articles, Funding and Investment

Seattle company developing wave-powered marine platform for ocean science applications

SEATTLE, Wash. -- Oscilla Power, Inc. [OPI] is proud to announce the receipt of a $200k Phase I SBIR grant award from the US Department of Energy to develop a wave energy powered platform for ocean sensing and monitoring systems. This award will help to develop technology that enables offshore instrumentation payloads to be powered by renewable energy from the surrounding ocean waves.

During this work OPI will collaborate with CODAR Ocean Sensors, an expert in high-frequency (HF) radar monitoring, to develop a wave-powered instrumentation platform for an offshore HF radar package. Such a system has the potential to greatly expand the range of existing shore-based environmental monitoring.

During this 9-month project, OPI will work with researchers at ECU's Coastal Studies Institute and Oregon State University to develop the marine platform using state-of-the-art optimization algorithms inspired by nature.

There are currently over 8,000 ocean monitoring platforms deployed world-wide, yet the global oceanographic monitoring system market is still considered to be in its infancy. Existing buoys and sensor platforms either utilize solar panels or disposable batteries, both of which need regular servicing visits. By harnessing energy from ocean waves, these servicing visits can be reduced to near zero, along with the associated waste and carbon emissions.

According to Balky Nair, President of Oscilla Power, "This is a great opportunity for OPI to showcase our technology and create a paradigm shift in the in the way ocean instrumentation will be powered in the future."

If this early work is successful, OPI plans to continue to work with project partners to progress into a full ocean demonstration in 2023. While the marine platform will be developed specifically for CODAR during the project, this R&D will lay the groundwork for a variety of ocean sensor systems.

About Oscilla Power Inc.:

Oscilla Power Inc. is developing advanced technology to extract energy from ocean waves. In addition to the work described here, they are currently completing the construction of the Triton-C prototype, a 100kW wave energy converter that is expected to be tested in Hawaii next year.

Learn more at: https://www.oscillapower.com/

Related link: https://oscillapower.com/

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Business, Free News Articles, Funding and Investment

Blockchain-based, AI-powered mortgage advisor Home Lending Pal raises $2.2M in pre-Series A round led by TMC Emerging Technology Fund LP

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- The Mortgage Collaborative (TMC), the nation's largest independent cooperative network serving the mortgage industry, announced today that the TMC Emerging Technology Fund LP (the "Fund") recently led a pre-Series A investment round in Home Lending Pal, a technology-enabled marketplace that focuses on fair lending practices by using artificial intelligence and distributed ledger technology to turn a complex home research and origination process into an easy online shopping experience for both qualified and unqualified borrowers.

Home Lending Pal's platform assists consumers, particularly minorities and millennials, to assess their financial ability to take on a mortgage. It also guides them to take actions to improve their access to mortgage financing and select mortgage originators with whom they want to share their application information based on an AI algorithm that predicts probability to close.

"TMC understands that progressive approaches to addressing fair lending and bridging the homeownership gap are needed, and the unique access the Fund provides to TMC's network of prominent industry lenders will be vital in helping Home Lending Pal build a process that de-identifies HMDA data until after the underwriting decision is made," Bryan Young, co-founder and CEO of Home Lending Pal, said. "This revolutionary technology allows underwriting data to be digitally validated while using a single upload of documentation to enable multiple lenders across the country to determine if they will work with the borrower without human biases from the upfront disclosure of age, sex or race."

"Financial inclusion must start with equal access, borrower data empowerment, and personalized education without sales pressure," said Steven Better, co-founder and COO of Home Lending Pal. "Home Lending Pal reduces origination friction for qualified borrowers and allows personalized roadmaps for unqualified borrowers to become qualified. I am excited to work with TMC to modernize the process by emphasizing fair lending and putting people first."

"The mortgage industry is embracing the idea of providing educational financial resources to consumers long before they begin their home buying journey and seek out lenders for financing options. Home Lending Pal exemplifies this concept by providing a much-needed solution to a pervasive issue," said Jonathan Freed, Managing Partner of Holland Mortgage Advisors and one of the Fund's participating Limited Partners. "We are excited by Home Lending Pal's cutting edge technology and the opportunity to collaborate with their forward-thinking team to improve access to home financing solutions by all consumers."

Orlando-based Angel Syndicate Bluewave Investment Partners, CMFG Ventures, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith, and CMFG Ventures Discovery Fund are other notable investors who joined the round. Home Lending Pal has raised $3.5 million to date for its digital mortgage advising platform, powered by artificial intelligence and blockchain. Home Lending Pal will demonstrate the next phase to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in early September and release it to the public for consumer use and feedback by late September.

The Limited Partners of the TMC Emerging Technology Fund consist of some of the most technology-forward lender members of TMC who evaluate and invest in companies looking to advance the mortgage industry. The Fund continues to look for investment opportunities that will result in higher profitability and business process improvement for TMC lender members.

About The Mortgage Collaborative

Based in San Diego, Calif., The Mortgage Collaborative was founded in 2013 by four notable industry leaders and is the nation's largest independent mortgage cooperative network. TMC is singularly focused on creating an environment of collaboration and innovation for small to mid-size mortgage lenders across the country to reduce cost, increase profitability, and better serve the dynamic and changing consumer base in America. For more information, visit http://www.mortgagecollaborative.com/.

Related link: https://www.mortgagecollaborative.com

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Alliances and Partnerships, Business, Education and Schools, Free News Articles, Funding and Investment, General Editorial

Nation’s Only Black Cybersecurity Reskilling School Receives $10M Funding Boost to Connect Students with High-Paying Careers in Tech

DETROIT, Mich. -- Detroit-based Automation Workz Institute, Inc., the nation's only Black tech diversity consulting and upskilling institution, today announced the close of $10 million growth financing to drive the expansion of their cybersecurity, network engineer and development certification courses to people of color across America.

* Game-changing funding will increase people of color access to Automation Workz programs

* 30 percent of Automation Workz graduates have received six-figure job offers

* "The best social justice program is a job, especially a high-paying high-demand tech job" - Automation Workz CEO & Founder Ida Byrd-Hill

Focusing on careers in network engineering, cybersecurity and IT/tech, as a post-secondary vocational school, Automation Workz customizes workforce training to develop diverse adults for high-paying careers in business, tech and cybersecurity. The announcement took place on Tuesday, August 10, 2021 at the 2021 ASU+GSV Summit in San Diego.

"This new funding partnership with Blair is game-changing on so many levels," said Automation Workz CEO and Founder Ida Byrd-Hill. "Lack of money should not be a barrier to move into the plethora of high-paying tech jobs that, for too long, have been a barrier to people of color. For years, I've advocated the best social justice program is a job, especially a high-paying high-demand tech job. I'm so thankful to Blair for believing in Automation Workz which I built to discover the tech genius that is often overlooked within inner cities."

As an immediate benefit, the new funding will increase people of color access to Automation Workz's program using Income Share Agreements whereby students sign an enrollment agreement. Upon graduation or receipt of a higher-paying job, whichever happens first, they will share income to repay tuition over four years. Automation Workz will also be able to add more staff and artificial intelligence capabilities to increase enrollment, hence more job offers. Automation Workz's goal is to assist 50,000 people of color to achieve six-figure job offers to create prosperous affluent economies in inner cities across America, thereby reducing crime, poverty and the stress that plagues inner cities.

"Blair is excited to partner with Automation Workz, a leading education provider, to increase upward mobility and afford students the opportunity to achieve great outcomes," shared Justin Stolzenberg, Head of Growth at Blair. "Their commitment to providing students an excellent education and lifelong career path is second-to-none, and continuously proven through their commitment to outcomes-based financing. We are thrilled to work with Automation Workz on removing the burden of upfront payments from their students and increasing access to their program."

To date, 30 percent of Automation Workz graduates have received and accepted six-figure job offers with the highest offer received by a Black woman. Reflecting its community and student constituents, people of color Instructors and mentors provide a safe and inspiring training space to launch into the tech industry. In addition, beyond a traditional curriculum, hands-on certification training utilizing digital simulations, games and animation are unique tools to both grow and groom the invisible tech geniuses that live in inner cities.

Both endorsement and validation of its high-powered training is illustrated by Automation Workz's inclusion as one of the nation's top 10 Cybersecurity Bootcamps by Career Karma and being named one the Best Cyber Security Bootcamps of 2021 by Intelligent.com. In addition, Pearson PLC of London has validated Automation Workz as distinctly having a niche audience of 30-40-year-old Black women which is unique across the world.

About Automation Workz Institute

Founded in 2017 as Cisco Networking Academy, Automation Workz Institute is an SBA woman-owned career technical trade school that advocates the future - and how we get there - uniquely depends on automation, processes and people (APP). Emphasizing innovation and ideation, Automation Workz expertly retools and enhances APP for internal and external audiences through scalable, customized services designed for organizations of all sizes. In 2021, Automation Workz was ranked as one of the nation's top 10 Cybersecurity Bootcamps by Career Karma. Most recently, it was named one the Best Cyber Security Bootcamps of 2021 by Intelligent.com, a trusted resource for online degree rankings and higher education planning. For additional information, go to https://autoworkz.org.

About Blair

Blair empowers schools of all kind to be more accessible by structuring and creating sustainable ISA (Income Share Agreements) programs. The team at Blair deeply believes in two core facts: education is powerful and access to education should not depend on one's financial background. Millions of talented people are not able to fulfill their potential due to financial barriers. Backed by some of the most prestigious institutions of the educational and financial services sector, we are building the financial and technological infrastructure to create outcome-based financing methods. Our goal is to help level the playing-field and give everyone the chance to improve their own lives with just grit and passion rather than a stellar credit score. As a service to educational institutions, we only succeed if our partner institutions and their students succeed. To learn more, go to https://joinblair.com.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Randy L. Jones, APR

1 Voice Communications

Randy@1voicecommunications.com

(586) 567-2639

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Business, Education and Schools, Free News Articles, Funding and Investment

Associated Colleges of Illinois Awarded Grant to Help Improve Four-Year Degree Completion Rates for Community College Transfer Students

CHICAGO, Ill. -- Associated Colleges of Illinois (ACI) (https://acifund.org), the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) and the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) were awarded a $25,000 planning grant to conduct research and develop an implementation plan to help more community college transfer students earn bachelor's degrees at ACI-affiliated colleges and universities.

The Teagle Foundation (https://www.teaglefoundation.org/Home), New York City, and the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations (https://www.avdf.org/), Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, awarded the planning grant, called "Transfer Pathways to the Liberal Arts." Collaborative research and planning work is expected to begin July 1 and be completed at the end of the 2021 calendar year.

"We're excited about the grant award and this initial phase to build enrollment and financial support for community college transfer students," said Mick Weltman, ACI executive director. "We're also pleased to collaborate with statewide team members such as ICCB and IBHE in this initial planning effort."

The grant proposal quotes research that states that 65 percent of jobs in today's economy require at least some postsecondary education, and yet, significant numbers of Illinois residents have no post-secondary degrees or credentials. Illinois established a goal of increasing the proportion of residents who hold high-quality degrees or credentials to 60 percent by 2025. In addition, more than 7 of 10 students who earned associate's degrees, then transferred to four-year institutions, earned four-year degrees in two years, according to the National Student Clearinghouse.

To meet the terms of the planning grant, ACI, the ICCB and the IBHE will form the Illinois Project Leadership Team. Team members will conduct academic and financial research, aimed at improving academic transferability and development of a campaign and fundraising plan to assist community college transfer students and Illinois higher-education institutions, according to the grant proposal.

The academic component, led by a project investigator, will involve collaborative research to help the project leadership team determine "effective strategies that can streamline and strengthen existing pathways," the grant proposal said. The team will also study a statewide community college transfer agreement among ACI-affiliated colleges and universities.

The financial research component will include resource development opportunities to fund community college students transferring to ACI-member institutions, and how best to obtain financial support.

A project investigator and ACI will use the research results to development a case for supporting more scholarships for community college transfer students and the expected effect on transfer degree-completion rates. The team will also develop a fundraising plan.

The project team will include ACI Executive Director Mick Weltman (mweltman@acifund.org), ACI staff, faculty and provost from ACI-member Judson University (https://www.judsonu.edu/), provost from Lincoln Land Community College, IBHE, ICCB leaders and an independent financial consultant.

About ACI:

Associated Colleges of Illinois (ACI) is a collaboration of 267 private, independent colleges and universities, representing more than 70,000 students. Established in 1952, ACI supports member colleges and universities by advancing independent liberal arts and sciences education and helping underserved students succeed in college, careers and life. The organization raises funds for scholarships, peer mentoring and emergency financial aid, and it provides member services such as professional development conferences and college-to-career seminars and events.

Visit ACI's website (https://acifund.org) for more information.

MEDIA CONTACT:
John Brooks
Associated Colleges of Illinois
jbrooks@acifund.org
Phone 312-263-2391

Related link: https://acifund.org

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Business, Free News Articles, Funding and Investment, NonProfit and Charities

Move For Hunger Receives $128,000 Donation from the Assurant Foundation

RED BANK, N.J. -- Move For Hunger, a national hunger relief non-profit organization, announced today that they have received a $128,735 donation from the Assurant Foundation as part of the '2021 Turning Miles into Meals Challenge.'

Assurant, a leading global provider of housing and lifestyle solutions that supports, protects, and connects major consumer purchases, hosted the 'Turning Miles into Meals Challenge' from May 10 through June 6, with more than 2,200 employees moving to fight hunger. Participants completed weekly and daily challenges to keep them motivated during the month-long event which culminated with an awards ceremony to recognize the group's efforts and to present Move For Hunger with the charitable donation.

This is the second year in a row that Assurant and the Assurant Foundation participated in the 'Turning Miles to Meals Challenge' and exceeded all expectations and goals. In its inaugural year in 2020, roughly 160 Assurant employees participated and moved 15,000 miles to fight hunger. This year, Assurant stepped up in a major way logging more than 128,000 miles or more than 250 million steps. The Assurant Foundation donated $1 to Move For Hunger for each mile earned, and the total donation will help provide 322,000 meals to those families and individuals facing hunger and food insecurity in the U.S.

"Being there to help others especially in times of need and working to strengthen the communities we serve is the heartbeat of our Assurant Cares commitment," said Mike Campbell, president, Global Housing, Assurant. "Our team's enthusiastic support of the critical work of Move For Hunger is one more way we bring our purpose to life while also enhancing our own wellbeing by moving to end hunger."

Since starting in 2009, Move For Hunger has helped transport over 23 million pounds of food (19 million meals) to food banks in every state in the U.S. and in Canada. Last year as COVID-19 shut the country down and unemployment skyrocketed, Move For Hunger and its network rose to the challenge by having its most impactful year yet with over 5 million pounds of food transported (over 4 million meals).

"There are 42 million people in this country who are food insecure. That's 1 in 8 Americans," said Adam Lowy, Executive Director and Founder of Move For Hunger. "This event is so special because thousands of people mobilized around a common cause. We're so grateful to have a partner in Assurant who is committed to our mission and has the creativity to do something unique to get their entire company involved. After a year inside, I think we all could probably use a few extra steps."

About Move For Hunger

Move For Hunger is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has created a sustainable way to reduce food waste and fight hunger. We have mobilized the leaders of moving, relocation, and multi-family industries to provide their customers, clients, and residents with the opportunity to donate their food when they move. Members of Move For Hunger also organize community food drives, participate in awareness campaigns, and create employee engagement programs. For more information, or to find out how you can host your own food drive, visit https://moveforhunger.org/.

About Assurant

Assurant is a leading global provider of housing and lifestyle solutions that support, protect and connect major consumer purchases. Anticipating the evolving needs of consumers, Assurant partners with the world's leading brands to develop innovative products and services and to deliver an enhanced customer experience. A Fortune 500 company with a presence in 21 countries, Assurant offers mobile device solutions; extended service contracts; vehicle protection services; pre-funded funeral insurance; renters insurance and lender-placed homeowners insurance. The Assurant Foundation strengthens communities by supporting charitable partners that help protect where people live and can thrive, connect with local resources, inspire inclusion and prepare leaders of the future. Learn more at http://assurant.com/ or on Twitter @AssurantNews.

Related link: https://moveforhunger.org/

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Business, Free News Articles, Funding and Investment, NonProfit and Charities

Sacramento SPCA Receives Lifesaving Investment from Newly Named Petco Love for the Zoe K. McCrea Animal Health Center

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento SPCA announced today that they received a $15,000 grant investment from Petco Love, to support their lifesaving work for animals through the newly constructed Zoe K. McCrea Animal Health Center.

A check presentation was held at the Petco retail store located at 855 E Bidwell Street in Folsom, California on Friday, July 9 at 11 a.m.

The Sacramento SPCA applied for the lifesaving investment as part of a year-long fundraising campaign to complete construction of the new state-of-the-art animal hospital located at 6201 Florin Perkins Road in Sacramento.

A remodel of the shelter's administrative office and sick bay building began in May 2020, renovations were complete in January 2021 and the Zoe K. McCrea Animal Health Center performed its first public surgeries in late January.

The expanded facility has allowed the Sacramento SPCA to immediately increase public access to low-cost and no-cost spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, and preventative care for animals in the Sacramento region and beyond.

The Kristan Otto Shelter Medicine Program, with species-specific housing for sick and injured animals; an isolation ward for managing contagious diseases; and examination, laboratory, and treatment space, is also located inside the new Zoe K. McCrea Animal Health Center.

"We are incredibly grateful for our partnership with the Petco Folsom store and Petco Love to support our lifesaving work in the new health center," said Kenn Altine, Sacramento SPCA CEO. "With Petco Love's local and national support, we can provide expanded access to low-cost preventative care to our community's pets, help animals get into homes faster and save more lives."

Petco Love is a nonprofit leading change for pets nationally by harnessing the power of love to make communities and pet families closer, stronger, and healthier. Since their founding in 1999 as the Petco Foundation, they've empowered organizations with $300 million invested to date in adoption and other lifesaving efforts. And, they've helped find loving homes for more than 6.5 million pets in partnership with Petco and more than 4,000 organizations, like the Sacramento SPCA, nationwide.

"Today Petco Love announces an investment in the Sacramento SPCA and hundreds of other organizations as part of our commitment to create a future in which no pet is unnecessarily euthanized," said Susanne Kogut, President of Petco Love. "Our local investments are only one component. In April, we also launched the first of our national tools to empower all animal lovers to drive lifesaving change right alongside us."

For more information about the Sacramento SPCA, visit http://sspca.org/. To learn more about Petco Love, visit http://www.petcolove.org/.

About the Sacramento SPCA

Founded in 1892, the Sacramento SPCA has been providing homeless animals with individual comfort, shelter, and love for more than 129 years. They provide compassionate medical care to tens of thousands of animals annually and offer a variety of programs and services designed to keep people and pets together for life. Visit http://sspca.org/ or follow at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Petco Love (Formerly Petco Foundation)

Petco Love is a nonprofit changing lives by making communities and pet families closer, stronger, and healthier. Since our founding in 1999 as the Petco Foundation, we've empowered animal welfare organizations by investing nearly $300 million in adoption and other lifesaving efforts. We've helped find loving homes for more than 6.5 million pets in partnership with Petco and organizations nationwide.

Today, our love for pets drives us to lead with innovation, creating tools animal lovers need to reunite lost pets, and lead with passion, inspiring and mobilizing communities and our more than 4,000 animal welfare partners to drive lifesaving change alongside us. Is love calling you? Visit http://www.petcolove.org/ or follow at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to be part of the lifesaving work we're leading every day.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Dawn Foster, Sacramento SPCA Marketing & Communications Director, dfoster@sspca.org or (916) 802-0915

Jennifer Perez, Petco Love, media@petcolove.org

Related link: https://www.sspca.org/

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