914INC: “Westchester Corporations’ Charitable Involvement”

Rebecca Tekula, PhD, and Anna-Kay Sinclair of The Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Pace University are interviewed about corporate philanthropy in Westchester—who gives and what they get in return.

Hundreds of companies make a conscious effort to support worthy causes in the county. But what do the companies—and their stockholders—get out of the deal, wondered reporter Dave Donelson in an article appearing in Westchester business lifestyle magazine 914Inc.

It’s not an idle question. Corporate philanthropy is big business in Westchester and it’s growing more important as nonprofit providers of essential social services face budget cuts from state, county, and municipal governments and declines in giving by private individuals.

How big?

According to Anna-Kay Sinclair of The Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Pace University, there were 971 registered private foundations with assets of over $2.8 billion in the county in 2010. That year, six Westchester-based corporate foundations made up 20 percent of total private foundation revenue—more than $78 million of the $391 million total for the county. The major half-dozen were foundations funded by PepsiCo, Pepsi Bottling Group, IBM, Dannon, Heineken, and MBIA based in Armonk.  

Potential sales growth helps explain what The Wilson Center’s executive director, Rebecca Tekula, PhD, observes: “What I see is less idiosyncratic donations based on the personal interests of the corporate leaders and more social responsibility related to the core business.”

In other words, donations are made not because the CEO likes the opera, but because companies believe it helps build the bottom line.

THE JOURNAL NEWS: Prof. Greg Holtz Weighs In – Diversity Index Another Way to View Census Data

“More and more white people are moving out and going South or going into alternative places to retire, and they’re being replaced by a more diverse population, mostly Latinos,” said Gregory Holtz, professor of public administration at Pace University. “The people moving out aren’t going to look exactly like the people moving in.”

Published March 24, 2011

By Dwight R. Worley

Westchester and Rockland are among the most diverse counties in the state, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday.

In the past decade, the counties have seen Hispanics, Asians and other minorities become a larger percentage of their populations. While communities with high numbers of minorities aren’t necessarily the most diverse — especially if they’re dominated by one group or have few non-Hispanic white residents — experts say the shifting demographics have bought a greater mix of races and ethnicities to the region.

“More and more white people are moving out and going South or going into alternative places to retire, and they’re being replaced by a more diverse population, mostly Latinos,” said Gregory Holtz, professor of public administration at Pace University. “The people moving out aren’t going to look exactly like the people moving in.”

Westchester and Rockland are the fifth and the seventh most diverse counties, respectively, in New York — behind the five counties of New York City — according to the USA Today Diversity Index. The index, developed by the newspaper, measures the likelihood that two people chosen at random from a particular area would be of different races and assigns a score of 0 to 100. A higher score indicates greater diversity.

Westchester’s index of 61.7 in 2010 is up from 55.1 in 2000. Rockland went from 46.4 to 53.9, while Putnam’s index of 30.7 compares to 19.4 a decade ago.

Wylene Branton Wood, president of the African American Historical Society of Rockland, said diversity is important, but even more critical is different groups learning about one another and working together.

“I think diversity means more than co-existing,” Wood said. “It means respecting each other’s traditions, working together to build a better community.”

Towns and villages, including Stony Point, Elmsford and Chappaqua, have also seen changes in their population mix.

Elmsford and Spring Valley are the most diverse communities in Westchester and Rockland, respectively, according to the index. Elmsford’s index of 78.8 increased from 72.4 in 2000; Spring Valley’s score rose nearly 5 points to 76.3.

The data also show:

• The region’s large cities and villages are among the most diverse areas. Peekskill, Yonkers, Ossining, Haverstraw and West Haverstraw all ranked high with scores over 70. White Plains has a score of 68.3.

• Largely white sections of Westchester and Rockland experienced the largest diversity gains.

Buchanan’s index score of 36.5 in 2010 is up from 12.2 a decade earlier, while Chappaqua’s score rose 22 points, to 40.6.

In Rockland, Stony Point had the biggest gain: 38.1 last year versus 20.2 in 2000.

• Despite a growing Hispanic population, Port Chester became less diverse, according to the index.

Its score dropped to 65.5 in 2010 from 68.3 in 2000.

A couple of other areas also saw a drop in diversity, including New Square — 2.2 in 2010 versus 6.7 in 2000 — and Kaser, whose score dropped about a point to 2.3.

Read original article here.

The New Yorker blog, Investor’s Business Daily and others: “IBM’s Watson Aims Far Beyond ‘Jeopardy’ Matchup”

Professor Darren Hayes is quoted in multiple articles about a Jeopardy game show which tests man against machine (IBM’S Watson supercomputer). Hayes showcases his knowledge of homeland security and computer forensics.

From the Investor’s Business Daily (Investors.com) article:

Darren Hayes, computer information systems program chairman at New York’s Pace University, adds national defense to the list. Hayes is not connected with IBM or Watson, but based on his expertise in computer forensics and homeland security, he says the technology could significantly assist in that arena.

“The focus (on homeland security) has been on information gathering — license plates, credit card transactions, Internet activity, flight manifests, telephone records, bank transactions, and so on — for millions of people. Synthesizing those terabytes of information is tremendously challenging,” Hayes said, adding that Watson can pull together these vast amounts of data much faster than earlier technology.

Hayes’ knowledge and expertise was also used in The New Yorker blog, NYConvergence.com and the Seattle Weekly blog.

Since December, Hayes has been sought after by multiple media, from CNN and Fox News to Government Executive Magazine, for views on other topics including the security of federal computer systems and Wikileaks.

Check out Pace’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems here.

Greenest Communities in Westchester

Grassroots Environmental Education, a non-profit organization, in partnership with the Pace University Academy for Applied Environmental Studies, announced today the results of a county-wide assessment of the efforts of towns and villages in Westchester County to address key environmental issues.

Green Star AwardsFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

Doug Wood, Grassroots Environmental Education (516) 883-0887 or (516) 423-6021

Cara Cea, Pace University, (914) 906-9680, ccea@pace.edu

Greenest Communities in Westchester Win First Green Star Awards

142-Point Evaluation Addresses Local Efforts on Climate Change, Sustainability and Environmental Health

Pleasantville, NY, March 24, 2010 — Grassroots Environmental Education, a non-profit organization, in partnership with the Pace University Academy for Applied Environmental Studies, announced today the results of a county-wide assessment of the efforts of towns and villages in Westchester County to address key environmental issues.

Using a comprehensive checklist developed by Grassroots called “How Green Is My Town?”, over 100 Pace students conducted interviews with municipal, school and business officials of 43 Westchester municipalities from November through early March. The communities with the highest combined scores on 142 widely-accepted attributes of a sustainable and environmentally-aware community will receive Green Star Awards in recognition of their achievements at a ceremony today in Pleasantville.

The six towns receiving Green Star Awards are: Bronxville, Chappaqua, Katonah, Larchmont, White Plains and Yorktown. Survey results for these and all other communities in Westchester have been posted, with recommendations, online at www.HowGreenIsMyTown.org/westchester where the municipalities are rated but not ranked.

Electric vehicle parking?

Pace University is the first to complete a pilot program that Grassroots intends as a model for change on a national level. Students from universities in Nassau and Suffolk counties will be next to complete the assessments of their areas. The pilot program in Westchester was funded in part by Con Ed.

Questions included in the survey ranged from “Does your town provide special incentives for ‘green’ building projects?” to “Does your town recycle e-waste?” and “Does your town offer preferred parking for electric vehicles?”

“We were delighted to find so many of the towns in Westchester out in front on these issues,” says Patti Wood, Executive Director of Grassroots, “but there is always room for improvement. The goal of our program is to help communities share ideas and resources, and to find ways to move ahead on a green agenda even during these tough economic times.”

“Each sector of the community has a vital role to play in making a town truly green,” says Michelle Land, Director of the Pace Academy, and the Environmental Consortium of Hudson Valley Colleges & Universities. “When the local government, school system and business community are working together in a cooperative effort, the results can be innovative and significant.”

Ready-to-go ideas

Grassroots first announced the launch of their comprehensive, science-based web site, www.HowGreenIsMyTown.org last spring. The “greenweb” offers a resource for government agencies and school systems seeking to address key environmental issues, providing links to ready-to-go policies, program ideas and cost-effective solutions. It is designed to give local citizens and decision makers the tools they need to bring about change.

Patti Wood of Grassroots stressed that the evaluation scores for local towns are dynamic, and towns that adopt policies or take other steps to address key issues should contact Grassroots to have their scores updated. An annual review and update of the evaluations is planned. All of the questions, answers, as well as details of every town’s scores, are available online at the web site: www.HowGreenIsMyTown.org/westchester.

About Grassroots Environmental Education

Grassroots Environmental Education is a NY-based not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization founded in 2000. Grassroots is dedicated to educating the public about environmental toxins and their impact on human health. Through the production and distribution of science-based materials, the organization seeks to empower individuals to act as catalysts for positive change in their own communities.

About Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies

Pace University Academy for Applied Environmental Studies works with every academic unit of Pace University in a comprehensive program to increase interdisciplinary educational opportunities for students and faculty, expand collaborations and partnerships with external institutions and experts, and create research and advanced study programs on matters of community, national and global import. www.pace.edu/academy