Students host discussion about catcalling

first_imgTwo members of Notre Dames, a female empowerment club, senior Alison Leddy and senior Bri Prusakowski, led a discussion about street harassment as part of Saint Mary’s Safety Week on Tuesday. Leddy posed the question of why men think they are invited to call out to women on the streets and why they are quick to defend themselves when they are called out on it.“I think a lot of the issue is it’s not welcomed,” junior Michelle Casado said. “You’re a stranger usually. I feel like that’s a big part of it. “ … If the woman isn’t welcoming it, you shouldn’t go for it. It’s regardless of the comment you’re making. If it’s not welcomed, there’s no consent.”Junior Emily Beaudoin said she does not understand what men get out of catcalling women. She said that women are not going to respond to a catcall by dating the man, so she does not know why they do it in the first place.Prusakowski responded by  y she thinks there isn’t an objective in street harassment, but rather a sense of entitlement.“It’s ‘You’re there, and I can say something, so I’m going to.’ I feel it’s almost automatic. This idea of entitlement or this need to comment on someone else. They don’t really have a plan beyond what they’re saying,” Prusakowski said. Leddy said she believes the goal of catcalling and street harassment is to start a conversation.“I feel like it’s framed in a way that there is a goal,” Leddy said. “That’s why I think people get away with it in a sense because they [think they’re] starting conversation. But conversations never start that way.”Casado said it’s a problem that in many cases, men do not realize that there is anything wrong with catcalling.“The idea that it’s normal to be able to objectify a woman like that is so bizarre,” she said. “Even if they personally don’t mean it, there’s still a huge issue in that they think it’s just normal and acceptable. Where is that coming from?”Prusakowski said a lot of the perpetrators are younger men and teenagers.“It’s so normalized and it’s so removed from analysis, that they don’t think about it,” she said. “They don’t see anything wrong with it because it’s just what everyone else does.”Leddy posed the question of how catcalling became normalized.Junior Lizzy Reid said she believes there is a group mentality behind catcalling.“A lot of times it’s a group of teenage. One of them will say something, and then all of a sudden, they’ll all start,” Reid said. “They feed off each other’s energy, and it becomes worse and worse. They think it’s all right so they all contribute to it.”Prusakowski said men see the women they harass as objects. She also noted that this is not a new phenomenon because older men do it, too, and other boys are going to grow up thinking this is the norm and will continue to perpetuate street harassment. Leddy said catcalling is about power dynamics. She said there is a power dynamic between the groups of boys and the individual girls they are catcalling, and there is also a dynamic between women. “We’re not only teaching guys to do that from a young age,” Leddy said. “ … We’re also teaching girls to accept it and live with it.”Tags: Notre Dames, Safety Week, saint mary’s, Talk it Out Tuesdaylast_img read more

Hometown Heroes

first_imgIt’s five o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon. You want to get outside after a long day of work or classes, but you don’t have the time to drive two hours to your favorite hike or crag. Gabrielle Dickerson Athletes and adventurers from across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast show us their favorite spots in their hometowns and how they get outside on a regular basis.  Saluda and Broad Rivers (Columbia, S.C.) For 12 miles, the Legacy Trail connects downtown Lexington with neighborhoods, parks, and the Kentucky Horse Park.  Aimee Trepanier in the Red Rock conservation area. There are plenty of places to explore in this extensive 644-acre park. Follow the trail along Nine Mile Run to where it empties into the Monongahela River or search for one of the more than 100 species of birds that have been documented in the park.  “When I realized I could transition from road running to trail running, incorporating longer periods outside, that’s what hooked me,” she said. “If I’m not getting outside on a daily basis, something is seriously wrong in my life.” On the weekend, Trepanier will drive about half an hour to Jones Gap State Park or Table Rock State Park for more trails and miles. Walk, run, or bike beside the historic French Broad River, flowing through the heart of Asheville. Or get in the water on a kayak, standup paddleboard, or tube for a summer float. The Swamp Rabbit Trail is paved, which works well for commuting. “We have amazing whitewater,” Hargrove said. “People sometimes don’t understand what we have in Columbus, Ga. There’s not as many families and kids out there as we want to see. We’re hoping to make it not just focused on people doing amazing tricks in the waves, but it can be fun family time. Our warmer water and multiple features have something for everyone. From flat water to class IV rapids our whole family, of different ages and athletic abilities, enjoys the connection and refreshment the river brings.” “Those trails are not only well maintained and a lot of fun, but they have some gorgeous views of waterfalls that are hard to beat,” she said. “They’re easy to get to. You don’t have to plan a whole day around your activity and travel.” But when Trepanier wants to get on some real trails in the city, she heads to Paris Mountain State Park.  Closer to his new home in Petersburg, Va., Wash discovered a quieter place to ride on the trails at Petersburg National Battlefield. “We’re concentrating on doing things as a family and having the Chattahoochee Whitewater Park in our town has been instrumental in allowing us to grow closer as a family and doing things outside,” Melissa Hargrove said. “It’s five miles from our house. It’s just beautiful training ground.” Going into his fourth-year racing downhill, mountain biker Angelo Wash is kicking it up a notch. “Most of my days, I’m either going to run or bike to work on the Swamp Rabbit Trail, which is just gold for me and a lot of people that live in Greenville,” Trepanier said. “The trail pretty much connects the main sections of Greenville. I live more on the Travelers Rest end, but I work in downtown.”  Angelo Wash  “I call it my backyard and home away from home because once the summer starts, I’m always there,” Wash said. “Last year, I was at Snowshoe for 32 days and I think we only get 90 days of summer.” PATH Parkway (Atlanta, Ga.) The Kanawha River winds through Charleston, connecting downtown, green spaces, and the West Virginia State Capitol. For a scenic float through mountains and forests, check out one of the Kanawha’s tributaries, the Coal River Walhonde Water Trail.  “I figured this year I would move up to Cat One for the challenge and to push myself more,” he said. “I was playing baseball at a competitive level and I’m just competitive, so I got to keep that going. I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’s pretty much that last step before you take the leap to go pro.” Gabrielle Dickerson, a climber living and working in the Southern Maryland area, has plenty of options when it comes to getting outside.  “My favorite place to go is the first place I was introduced to biking, Powhite Park,” he said. “I can literally walk from my job to this place. That’s my favorite little spot to go to when I just want to get away and ride. I can leave work, get right over there, and do an hour of riding.” Kanawha River (Charleston, W.Va.)  For North Carolina photographer Cathy Anderson, her love for the art started at a young age. There are photos of her as a young girl, developing negatives in the dark room with her dad. When the warm weather rolls around, Wash heads to the Snowshoe Bike Park in West Virginia for his more intense training for downhill events. John Hardin “At the beginning, it was very stressful and hard because we didn’t have a community,” Hardin said. “Now we have this huge volunteer army that comes out and helps. All these trail runners have really taken on to it.” From there, Anderson started meeting more people in the adventure community who introduced her to a whole new world.  Both of these parks are conveniently located in town and offer the kind of trails Wash is looking for. While the museums and history of downtown D.C. receive a lot of attention, those who live and play in the DMV area know there is plenty to do outside.   Just down the road, the James River Park System also offers a place to get away right on the water. The highliners, long-distance hikers, and explorers, the people Anderson now calls her adventure family, have helped her find her niche in the photography world.   The easiest way she finds to get outside is her commute to work every day. “I love bringing people out climbing,” Dickerson said. “Don’t think that you’re going to be a burden to anyone because you’re not as experienced. Because we all started off not being experienced. I am super appreciative of the people who took me outside and so I always want to be that resource for someone else. We all belong in the climbing space. We all belong in the outdoor space.” Now in their seventh year, they put on seven running events and a paddling event around the area. Find Your People There are miles of trails around Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, an arboretum showcasing native species, and an outdoor amphitheater.   Climb Nashville has two locations in the city, offering a variety of routes for beginning and experienced climbers. “I really love that area because not only is it a climbing place, it’s a great hiking place,” Dickerson said. “So, if you bring friends who aren’t super psyched about climbing, they can hike. Cunningham Falls, you hike up to a waterfall and there are four or five different boulders that have quite a few climbs on them. Afterwards, there’s a lake that we can go hang out in.” “You can get 30 miles in the city and still see the skyline,” Wash said. “That’s how sweet that is. I have a few friends, especially once it gets hot, they will do a lap around the river and then the next thing I know, those guys are swimming in the river. There’s just a lot to do when you go down to the river. When you’re finished riding, you don’t have to pack up and head home.” For trail runner Aimee Trepanier, the more time she can spend outside during the day, the better.  Now as a leader for Brown Girls Climb, Dickerson is helping more people experience the sport. DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) When the family is not on the river together, they’re enjoying the Chattahoochee RiverWalk and downtown Columbus. When ultra-athlete John Hardin looked around Nashville, he didn’t see any extreme athlete events. He teamed up with his adventure partner, Cody Goodwin, to start HardWin Adventures and create those events.  the Hargrove Family on the Chattahoochee River. / photo by Melissa Hargrove This year, the Hargroves are partnering with Whitewater Express and Team River Runner to host Throwdown Thursdays on the river.  The Philly Pumptrack (Philadelphia, Penn.) “The Big South Fork, I think, is the next climbing mecca of the South,” he said. “The walls out there are phenomenal and there’s so many of them. People just don’t know about it. The routes are hard to get to because there’s no trail system set up in some of the areas.” Greenville, S.C. “Get out there and do it with them,” she said. “When we go to baseball practice, soccer, or dance, we’re sitting on the sidelines watching them. And it’s fun, but being out there doing it with them, whether it’s in a kayak or riding a bike, creates memories that they’re going to carry on to their children.”  “I found a huge passion to start photographing and highlighting the athletes who exist within the world that I love so much,” she said. “Adventure photography is what helped me come in to who I am today.” “It’s basically getting on things that he feels comfortable with,” Hardin said. “He only does four routes but he’s only four years old. It’s small things to set his foundation.”  “My favorite place, especially for getting my friends out that haven’t climbed outside, is Great Falls Park,” she said. “That’s a really great top roping place and it’s really great to take people who haven’t been outside as often. For bouldering, the first place I ever climbed outside was Northwest Branch Stream Valley Park in Silver Spring. People have their opinions about it, but it’s got a special place in my heart because that was the first place I ever went bouldering. The first boulder is a two- to three-minute walk from the parking lot. There’s a good amount of warm up climbs if you want an endurance workout and harder climbs if you want to project stuff.” Nashville, Tenn. Gabrielle Dickerson climbs in the Casey Jones area of the New River Gorge. / Photo by Stephen Smithburger “Patapsco State Park is great to go hang out in and hike after work because I am in an office behind a computer all day,” she said. “So sometimes I just have to get outside. My coworkers and I, after work, will just go out hiking for a little bit and grab a beer afterwards.” Hardin, who grew up exploring the big parks in the area, is now passing on his sense of adventure to his son. On Mondays, the father and son go rock climbing.  “Don’t be intimidated,” she said. “I remember my first day walking into Earth Treks Rockville and everyone looked like they knew what they were doing. I felt like I didn’t belong, like I was this newbie who didn’t belong. If you’re getting into climbing, just embrace it and have fun.” John Hardin with his family. / Photo courtesy of Hardin Columbus, Ga. Frick Park (Pittsburgh, Penn.) Hargrove said these moments, where the family is able to get outside together, bring her so much joy. When she does travel farther out to Pisgah National Forest or Great Smoky Mountains National Park for longer runs, Trepanier makes sure to have all her gear ready to keep herself motivated. “We go ride bikes, find picnic spots,” Hargrove said. “There’s a splash pad in the summer. There’s rafting and ziplining as well right there. During the heat of the summer when we’re not on the water, being inside at the climbing gym is a lot of fun. There’s so much to do right there.” Originally from Richmond, there are plenty of spots for Wash to get on his bike around the city. Most of Anderson’s early work focused on portraits, but she started moving into landscape photography when she discovered the Linville Gorge was right in her backyard.  They go swimming on Tuesdays and run the track together at the local YMCA on Wednesdays. Other days, Hardin spends his time exploring the area on his own and with friends. “I say this with a bit of caution, but we have a huge game reserve next to us called the Cheatham County Game Reserve,” he said. “It’s about 22,000 acres and it has tons of trails on it. Nobody knows about it. It’s this huge forest right on the outside of Nashville. You have to be careful. If people are hunting, you shouldn’t be out there. But you can go when people are not hunting.” “The whole goal was to create a trail running community in Nashville,” Hardin said. “Chattanooga and Knoxville had something that we thought was imperative that we start something in our area.” This bike park is free and open to the community in downtown Philadelphia. They even have a stock of bikes and helmets for visitors to use without charge. French Broad River Greenway (Asheville, N.C.) Catawba River (Charlotte, N.C.) Cool off on the Catawba River or stop by the U.S. Whitewater Center for rock climbing, ropes courses, mountain biking, and whitewater rafting.  The community came together to build an urban whitewater center right in downtown. Once the park was finished, it became something for the whole family to do together.  Kemper Park (Charlottesville, Va.) In the heart of South Carolina’s capitol, the Saluda and Broad Rivers meet to form the Congaree River. Whether you’re looking for churning rapids or a peaceful float, you’ll find one of Columbia’s rivers fits your speed.  During the week, Dickerson will head to one of several Earth Treks climbing gyms in the area. One day on the weekend she also works as a climbing instructor at Earth Treks Hamden. For those interested in getting into climbing, Dickerson remembers the feeling of starting out.   More Urban Adventures to Explore Locals reveal their favorite spots for in-town adventure Legacy Trail (Lexington, Ky.) The Hargroves, a family of six whitewater kayakers, got their start in the sport because of their location. Matt Hargrove had just started paddling when the dam was breached on the Chattahoochee River in Columbus, Ga. Richmond, Va. The Hargrove Family Aimee Trepanier “It’s more double track than single track but you can get a decent 10 miles in there, he said. “It’s a pretty cool site because you’re actually on the battlefield. You’re seeing big craters. They still have the canons out. You can ride along the Appomattox River. It’s kind of similar to features at the James River System but a lot of people don’t know about it because it’s Petersburg and it’s still coming up.” “Every Thursday, our family will have kayaks for people to try out and we’ll be down there to offer instruction,” Hargrove said. “Just to get more families and individuals on the water, learning our sport and encouraging others that with a little drive and sense of adventure, any size family, including children of any age, can enjoy jumping into a kayak or on a SUP board.” When he has more time, Hardin will head towards Northern Tennessee to explore the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.  The PATH Parkway may only be 1.5 miles, but it connects several important locations in downtown Atlanta, including the Centennial Olympic Park, headquarters for the Coca-Cola Company, and Georgia Aquarium. Angelo Wash is one of Richmond’s top mountain bikers. The eldest Hargrove, Mason, 15, is currently ranked number one in the nation for his age group and will be representing the United States at the World Championships in July. Makinley Kate, 11, and Mary Claire, 9, are getting more comfortable on the water and starting to compete. Mathis, the youngest at 5, just got his first kayak for Christmas to paddle around on flatwater, although he will go down the rapids in dad’s lap. If she wants a full day of climbing, Dickerson will head towards Frederick, Md. for Catoctin Mountain Park or Cunningham Falls State Park. “I like natural features,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, I love a flow trail. Everybody loves a flow trail. Powhite is still very much raw. It still has the roots and ruts and rocks. The stuff around the river has the same thing but you get a little bit more elevation and distance.” “Sometimes, my life as a portrait photographer will get so busy that I’ll just take my camera and get lost on top of a mountain,” she said. “My passion is the Linville Gorge. I would be happy hiking there for the rest of my life because there’s something amazingly beautiful about it and there’s something different around every corner.” “That’s literally in the heart of Greenville,” she said. “You can get 15 to 20 miles out there easy. It offers you everything, from technical terrain to hard climbs and nice flowy pieces. You really get a good sense of all things trail.” “If I’m going to be driving, I live out of my car,” she said. “I have a bucket of all my trail gear, extra clothes, water bottles. It’s a bit of an investment up front to pay for it. But I found that if I can keep it in my car, keep it on me, then there’s no real excuse to not get out.” “If I need to ride my bike on the main roads, I’m pretty comfortable with that,” Trepanier said. “But a lot of people aren’t, and it’s not super safe. So, the trail gets you off of the main roads to something that’s for pedestrians and bikers only. It’s super safe and beautiful. You go through the city, neighborhoods, and parts that truly are like a swamp. Then it connects you into downtown Falls Park area and you can add extra miles touring around there.” “They’re doing things you never thought you could do,” she said. “They seem almost like rock stars, which they are to me. When you think of a rock star, you think they’re unapproachable. If you just take that inhibition away and you go say hello, they are some of the most loving and supportive people that you have ever met. They’re there to share a central love for something, whether it be highlining, photography, hiking, whatever. All of these people are not only willing to help you, but collectively respect the environment. It just took one step for me to be encircled by a world and community of people who I never thought would want to commune with me. Just come out one day to a highlining meeting. You’ll understand.”last_img read more

U.S. Special Ops Command South Presses for Increased Engagement with Latin American Partners

first_img Despite dwindling resources and a U.S. defense focus on the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, the commander of Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH) is committed to not only maintaining, but increasing engagements in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Regular, sustained engagement is key to SOCSOUTH’s core mission: building partner capacity so regional nations can address their own challenges, Army Brig. Gen. Sean P. Mulholland told American Forces Press Service while in Washington D.C. for an annual Special Operations and Low-intensity Conflict Symposium and Exhibition. “On any given day, I have over 300 people deployed downrange to Central and South America, including members of every service’s special operations force and their civil affairs and military information support teams,” he said. “SOCSOUTH is engaged 365 [days a year], 24/7.” A Green Beret who has served most of his career within Latin America, Mulholland said he’s convinced that persistent engagement establishes a level of credibility and trust simply not possible through traditional training and exercise programs. “Building partner capacity is planting seeds” that require nurturing over time, he said. “It’s really not rocket science. It’s about personal relationships and what we do as we build partner capacity,” he said. “It is always letting your partners know that you are there, inside their country, helping them out — whether it is one guy or 50 guys and gals. It is all about contact.” Since assuming command in October, Mulholland has made a concerted effort to promote these contacts, all governed by the host nation’s requests, in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy country team and at the direction of U.S. Southern Command. “We don’t do anything [the host nation] doesn’t ask for. And we don’t do anything the embassy hasn’t approved that we do,” he explained. “There is nothing spooky or under-the-table about what we do. It is all above-board, and it is all about building partner capacity.” That capacity is vital to stemming the challenges in the region: drug traffickers and other transnational criminals and terrorist elements seeking footholds in ungoverned spaces, among them. These groups use these areas to flow drugs and other illicit shipments through Central America and Mexico and, ultimately, to the United States. “The best way to go after a threat is to have that partner nation develop a security capacity and diminish that threat,” Mulholland said. “I can affect this bridge coming up north through Mexico to the United States. I can do that by helping build partner capacity with [host nation] units that are actually going to go out there and do something about it. And that is happening.” Mulholland cited Colombia as the shining example of what capacity building can achieve. Today, thanks to strong Colombian leadership and persistent U.S. support and engagement, Colombia has capable, highly respected security forces. In addition to securing their own country, they are now training other regional militaries. “They have become exporters of [force integration training],” Mulholland said, taking what they have learned and sharing it with their neighbors. “This is Latins training Latins, and that is a beautiful story,” Mulholland said. “It’s poetry.” Other success stories can be found in Brazil, which has long stood as a strong example in the region, and increasingly in Panama, Guatemala and El Salvador. SOCSOUTH’s special operators help partner military and police forces improve their counterdrug capabilities, then embed with them to help them plan and conduct actual missions. This forms a bond simply not possible through traditional schoolhouse training and short-duration exercises, he said. “We are practitioners, not visitors. … This deepens our commitment to them, and they know it,” Mulholland said. “They know we are there for them, so I think it builds partnership capacity faster.” It’s a formula that’s been tested and proven over time, even while wartime requirements in Iraq and Afghanistan tapped some of SOCSOUTH’s personnel and equipment. Now, as defense budgets get tightened, he said he’ll do everything he can to increase engagement in the region. That, Mulholland recognized, is likely to require scrapping the “nice to have” activities and concentrating on what’s essential. By Dialogo February 01, 2013 It is a national duty for the American Continent countries to understand with an open mind the United States Government’s concerns and availability, through the South Command, to enlighten the common threats and contribute to prepare the friend countries against adverse movements and forces which act to profit from drug trafficking, cyber wars, asymmetric wars. The politicians and rulers are the ones responsible to create proper conditions for defense forces and public security, to guarantee a sanity human environment in their countries, which are threatened by the traditions decay, corruption, democracy erosion, and the lamentable development of materialists and Hedonists societies. Besides that, creating of an educational preparation and building up useful national citizenships, important for the development and social peace throughout the American Nations.Ney de Araripe Sucupira – Public Relations Director – Graduates Association of the Escola Superior de Guerra (Superior School of War) – ESG – São Paulo, Brazil Very good article. I am a security consultant and advisor. Ct(R) Fabio Garzon Fiscos. I would like to be able to reach General Sean Mulholland. Thank youlast_img read more

4 reasons to use credit union service organizations

first_img“[CUSOs] provide a means to an end – allowing credit unions the capability to fulfill the financial needs of their members in a cost effective environment through efficient delivery channels. Plus, they attract the brightest and most innovative minds to the board table, bringing best practices of credit unions across the country, which is a priceless experience.”  – Doug Petersen President/CEO of Workers’ Credit Union.A Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO) is an organization formed and/or owned by one or more credit union(s) to provide a specific product or service within the industry.  CUSOs provide credit unions a method to spur innovation, increase efficiencies through specialization, and gain economies of scale.  CUSOs leverage the power of collaboration that already exists within the industry to offer several benefits such as:Economies of ScaleEconomies of scale are achieved when a company produces goods and services on a larger scale while simultaneously lowering average input costs.  CUSOs achieve economies of scale by producing goods or services for several credit unions rather than having a single credit union attempt to replicate the same benefit.  By utilizing the power of collaboration, CUSOs can specialize on a given product or service which enables them to provide higher-value products and services at a much lower cost.Multiple OwnersThe collaboration of several owners spurs more innovative products and services because there are several different viewpoints. Unlike most other vendors in the credit union space, CUSOs are required, by law, to have multiple owners.  “There can be some overlap with the credit union, but the management team can’t be 100% the same,” says Guy Messick, an attorney with Messick & Lauer and general counsel to NACUSO.  This is incredibly beneficial because there are more eyes looking over the books so if any problems arise, they will likely come to light before they become a serious threat.  Because of this, it should come as no surprise that credit unions with CUSOs outperform credit unions with no CUSO.The Credit Union MovementCUSOs, by nature, are focused on the overall health of the credit union movement.  CUSOs care about the credit union movement because they are part of the credit union movement.  Utilizing a CUSO ensures that capital investment stays in the credit union movement and is redistributed to credit unions and their members.  CUSOs invest in technologies that ensure the long term viability of the credit union industry. CU Wallet is a great example. Without them the only alternative would be Apple Pay which has no stake or interest in the long term viability of the credit union industry.Competitive AdvantageCUSOs offer credit unions the ability to remain competitive by improving efficiencies and producing a wider array of products and services that would be unobtainable without CUSO collaboration.  They enable credit unions to acquire scale and market power along with other resources such as capital and staff that far exceed their individual sizes.  For example, Predictive Analytics requires a great deal of resources to properly execute. Credit unions will need to hire Data Architects to first build a data warehouse with as much transactional data as possible. A data warehouse can take up to 3 years to build and approximately $2 Million. Also, Data Scientists will be needed to generate predictive models using all of the transactional data. Data Scientists run about $150,000-$175,000 per year.With a Big Data and Analytics CUSO; however, credit unions can install a pre-built, industry standard data model for less than $50,000 and only $40,000-$60,000 per year to support. An industry standard data model enables all credit unions to share the overall cost of development and support, and deliver much more powerful solutions. Instead of hiring Data Architects, Data Scientists, Report Writers, Data Engineers, ETL Developers, etc., credit unions can leverage CUSO collaboration to execute a highly robust Big Data & Analytics strategies for a fraction of the cost of doing it on their own or using a non-CUSO vendor. 88SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Austin Wentzlaff Austin J. Wentzlaff joined OnApproach in 2013 as a Business Development Analyst and is now currently Director of Business Development. He is responsible for developing marketing strategies, driving prospects to … Web: www.onapproach.net Detailslast_img read more

Start the new year by sharing a “slice of the pie”

first_imgLooking for an easy way to support mission-driven philanthropy in your state and across the country? It’s possibly by simply sharing a “slice of the pie.”First, some background. The Community Investment Fund (CIF) was started in 1999 to provide credit unions opportunities to donate a portion of dividends invested to the National Credit Union Foundation and state credit union foundations. Throughout the years, it has been a very successful fundraising mechanism for the Foundation.The Community Investment Fund is a unique, social investment opportunity. Here is how it works: your credit union invests in a CIF account. Then your credit union will receive a portion of the CIF return as well as the National Credit Union Foundation and your state credit union foundation or league. Everyone wins – your investment makes an impact in your state and around the country.The Foundation plans to reenergize CIF in 2016 by offering credit unions additional investment options besides the traditional 90 day account and CD offerings.A new CIF option allows credit unions the ability to invest in either government-issued securities or negotiable CDs, while sharing a percentage of the interest earned as a donation to CIF. So charitable contributions are made from investment returns rather than operating income. Securities and CDs will be purchased through participating corporate credit unions and will be held in safekeeping at Alaska USA Trust Company.Therefore, credit unions can easily share a “slice of the pie” by donating a portion of their interest earned on the securities in safekeeping. Like the traditional CIF, that “slice” will be split between the Foundation’s national programs and state credit union foundations for financial education and development initiatives.Interested credit unions should contact their corporate credit union to ensure you are set up to purchase regulatory-compliant government issued securities and/or negotiable CDs that fit with your asset/liability strategy.By giving a little, you are supporting a lot. Even a small “slice” allows the Foundation and its state colleagues the ability to leverage additional funding sources and help make sure consumers have the education, tools and resources needed to achieve financial freedom through credit unions. 9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Gigi Hyland Gigi Hyland serves as the Executive Director for the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF), the philanthropic and social responsibility leader of America’s credit union movement. Prior to her work with … Web: www.hylandhighway.com Detailslast_img read more

Deepening member relationships with millennials

first_imgOver the next few decades, an estimated $30 trillion will pass from baby boomers to millennials, according to Accenture.As the roughly 75-million strong millennial generation accumulates wealth and leads increasingly complex financial lives, credit unions will see more opportunities to engage this demographic and meet their financial needs.Millennials’ major life experiences were shaped by the Great Recession of 2008. They witnessed record-high unemployment levels, and parents losing their jobs, savings, and investments, in addition to their own financial challenges.They are managing more student debt and faced higher unemployment than any generation since the Great Depression. Still, their financial goals are not drastically different from those of baby boomers when they were in their 20s and 30s.In other words, owning a home, saving for retirement and raising a family continue to be defining factors for financial success. The key differences between millennials and baby boomers are their technology dependence and the communication tools used to satisfy their needs. 16SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

PRI announces ABP trustee as chair of new asset owner advisory board

first_imgXander den Uyl, trustee at Europe’s largest pension fund ABP, has been named chairman of the newly formed asset owner advisory board of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).Alongside den Uyl, European representatives on the board include Anders Thorendal, CIO of the Church of Sweden’s pension fund; Faith Ward, chief responsible investment and risk officer at the UK’s Environment Agency Pension Fund; and Mark Walker, CIO of Univest, the asset manager for Unilever’s pension funds.Canvassing support for his election to the board, den Uyl said one of the PRI’s key challenges would be to “remain relevant for an increasingly wide range of investors, investment styles and cultures”.He is a former vice-president of ABP, the €345bn Dutch fund for civil servants, and oversaw the development of a responsible investment policy adopted in 2007. The 16-strong board currently has 14 members, with two vacancies remaining for asset owners from emerging markets.Full list of current board membersChris Ailman, CIO, California State Teachers’ Retirement System (US)Sharon Alpert, chief executive, Nathan Cummings Foundation (US)Jagdeep Singh Bachher and Amy Myers Jaffe, office of the CIO, University of California (US)Yvonne Bakkum, director investment management, FMO (The Netherlands)James Davis, CIO, OPTrust (Canada)Marie Giguère, executive committee member, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (Canada)Hiromichi Mizuno, CIO, Government Pension Investment Fund (Japan)Jay Ralph, chairman, Allianz Asset Management (Germany)Ian Silk, chief executive, AustralianSuper (Australia)Daniel Simard, chief executive, Bâtirente (Canada)Anders Thorendal, CIO, Church of Sweden (Sweden)Xander den Uyl (chair), trustee, ABP (The Netherlands)Mark Walker, CIO, Univest (The Netherlands)Faith Ward, chief responsible investment and risk officer, Environment Agency Pension Fund (UK)It will spend its time advising the PRI on its asset owner insight work, which covers the appointment of managers, investment policy and strategy, as well as the role of responsible investment within passive strategies.The creation of the advisory board sees the UN-backed initiative fulfil its pledge to increase asset owner representation, a sensitive matter for an organisation where the approximately 300 asset owner signatories risk being overshadowed by 1,156 asset manager and other professional service partners.In its business plan for 2015-18, the PRI pledged to increase asset owner representation and participation, including setting itself recruitment targets for asset owners by region.The board’s launch comes after the organisation hinted it would hold to account signatories failing to comply with its principles.last_img read more

Consultant warns on changing risks in private debt sector

first_imgSome private debt funds have become riskier as managers chase yield to meet investor demand, according to consultant bfinance.Yields on senior direct lending funds – the most popular form of private debt among institutional investors – have been compressed in recent years following a surge of demand, bfinance said in a new report on the asset class, published today.The consultancy firm said: “We are frequently asked: ‘Is now a good time to invest?’ While 
the answer may still be ‘yes’, a deep understanding of what’s under the bonnet will be key to successful implementation.”Although private debt funds raised less money in 2016 than the previous year according to Preqin data, unused capital hit a record high of more than $220bn (€206bn). bfinance said it worked on private debt mandates worth more than $1.25bn last year, more than double the volume of 2015. Roughly three quarters of this was corporate lending.“We expect significant performance dispersion between upper and lower quartile managers in this more competitive environment,” the consultant said.Analysis by bfinance showed most European private debt fund managers still expected returns of around 8% from senior funds. However, the consultancy claimed, “portfolios with large proportions of traditional senior secured loans cannot drive such expectations”.“Core senior debt in Europe now produces returns of 5-6% with average cash yields at around or slightly below 4%,” bfinance said. “This signifies noticeable spread compression since 2012.”As a result, the consultancy said investors should “focus on the nature of the senior debt” in funds they are considering, as well as the proportion invested in subordinated (higher risk) debt. Some managers had raised their limits for investment in riskier debt above 20% in senior funds.In addition to falling yields, bfinance warned of managers using more leverage than in previous years, and of covenants being eroded – known as “cov-lite”.Cov-lite structures “may, in theory, hold
 the potential for increased credit risk”, bfinance said. The lender – and therefore the asset owner – has less visibility on the borrower, for example.However, bfinance said some funds had introduced other forms of oversight to mitigate the loss of traditional covenant protections, such as a seat on the board of the borrowing company.On costs, the consultancy reported there was “considerable flexibility” for fee negotiation around the industry norm of a 1% management charge with a 15% carry for senior funds.“Hurdle rates, catch-ups, and administrative charges prove critical to overall leakage and should be handled with care,” bfinance added.The trade off between risk and reward in private debt was still “highly attractive in relative terms”, bfinance said, but it was also “somewhat less favourable than it was four years ago”.last_img read more

​Chart of the week: Responsible investment surges in importance

first_imgTim Manuel, head of responsible investment for Aon in the UK, said: “In the UK, where regulations in favour of responsible investing continue to strengthen, we see investors taking more concrete steps to implement responsible investments within their funds.”The fact that Aon had a high response to the survey in the UK, with 43% of overall respondents being based there, was indicative of this frame of mind, Manuel said.Meredith Jones, author of the report and global head of responsible investing at Aon, said the consultancy was also observing significant investor-led RI efforts where regulation was not driving activity, however. Year-on-year change in responsible investing attitudes by geographic region Responsible investment (RI) surged in importance for all types and sizes of institutional investor around the world in the last year, a new survey has found, with the biggest gains in positive sentiment towards the approach recorded among respondents in the UK.Of the UK respondents to Aon’s 2019 Global Perspectives on Responsible Investing survey, 42% indicated RI was very important or critical to their organisation, up from 19% in 2018, and 87% answered that they believed the approach was at least somewhat important, up from the 66% who gave that response in 2018.In continental Europe, those percentages were 85% in 2019, up from 80% in 2018.In the US, meanwhile, the percentages were 78% compared to 57%, and in Canada the proportions were 78% — up from 66%. Source: Aon, Global Perspectives on Responsible Investing 2019The survey polled nearly 230 investment professionals internationally.Corporate pension funds were revealed to have undergone a sea change in their attitudes to responsible investing, with the share of investors expressing a positive sentiment toward the approach growing from 56% in 2018 to 86% in 2019. Public pensions saw similar growth, according to the poll, but from a different departure point, with positive sentiment spreading from 70% of respondents last year to 92% in 2019.Year-on-year change in responsible investing attitudes by investor type center_img Source: Aon, Global Perspectives on Responsible Investing 2019The most popular primary motivation for pursuing RI — across all investors — was the belief that incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) data leads to better investment returns, Aon said.However, the firm said many UK and European respondents indicated in the survey that they were motivated to engage in RI in order to have an effect on global issues such as climate change, diversity or social justice.“By contrast, only 10% of US investors and 8% of Canadian investors indicated global impact as a motivator,” Aon said.According to the survey, lack of agreement on key issues, such as terminology and materiality, was a hindrance for fewer investors this year than last: 14% of those polled in the 2019 survey, down from 26% in 2018. However, Aon said the industry continued to struggle with what constitutes ESG, socially responsible investing (SRI), and impact investing. In its view, imprecise terms have been applied on a wide variety of investment products, with a number launched over the last 12 months under an ESG label when they included features that fell more under the headng of SRI and/or had impact goals as well. Aon said it continued to advocate “for the apt imposition of names when it comes to all things RI”. It also said it planned to launch an impact fund and a low carbon factor fund for its discretionary asset management clients.last_img read more

Mandate roundup: Asset owner duo invests in Equita’s private debt

first_imgThe Fondo Italiano d’Investimento and the European Investment Fund have invested in Equita’s Private Debt Fund II (EDP II), which has announced its first closing at €100m.Equita, an Italian independent investment bank, said the first phase of funding its Italian closed-ended investment fund, which is compliant with the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), included a significant portion of existing Equita Private Debt Fund investors re-upping in the second fund – the largest being the Italian fund of funds Fondo Italiano d’Investimento, as well as new top-tier Italian and international investors, including the European Investment Fund.An Equita spokesman, however, declined to disclose how much each asset owner invested individually.The second phase of the EDP II fundraising process – which was launched in October 2019 with a target size of €200m (and a €250m hard cap) – will aim to attract Italian and international institutional investors interested in benefiting from the risk-return profile of this relatively new and growing asset class, Equita said. Equita said the fund’s investment strategy will be in line with its predecessor Equita Private Debt Fund, investing in senior unitranche and subordinated bonds in sponsor-led transactions, with a maturity of five to seven years and a bullet repayment structure.The target returns, it added, are expected to be in line with those of the first private debt fund, which is now fully deployed with an expected gross return of around 9.5%.EPD II will also benefit from strong governance, leveraging on an independent decision-making process and full alignment of interests between investors and the managing team, it said.Paolo Pendenza, head of private debt at Equita, said: “Given the current market environment, we are really satisfied with the results we achieved. The positive track record of the first fund and the ability of the private debt team to identify new investment opportunities have allowed Equita Capital SGR to complete the first closing of Equita Private Debt Fund II with €100m, setting the stage to reach the final target of €200m in the coming months.”Quaestio awards Impax €79m sustainable mandateQuaestio Capital Management, an Italian investment firm managing multi-asset, multi-manager portfolios for institutional clients, has awarded Impax Asset Management a €79m sustainable segregated mandate.Quaestio initially awarded Impax €68.7m and subsequently allocated an additional €10m, it was announced.According to Impax, the manager will run this segregated account using the same process as the Impax Global Opportunities Strategy. Quaestio selected this particular strategy based on how Impax integrates environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) into the investment process.The strategy seeks to achieve long-term capital growth through investment in companies with sustainable competitive advantages and track records of consistent returns on investment, where the portfolio managers believe that these characteristics are not reflected in the share price, Impax said.The global opportunities strategy uses the proprietary Impax Sustainability Lens to identify durable companies best positioned to seize these opportunities and mitigate these risks, the firm added.The investment process includes a strong focus on the risks arising from the transition to a more sustainable global economy, whilst seeking to harness the opportunities that it presents.Christian Prinoth, chief investment officer for Quaestio, said: “Impax is well recognised worldwide for its expertise in understanding investment opportunities arising from the transition to a more sustainable economy. ESG analysis is clearly an integral part of the Impax investment process, and we wanted to offer our clients access to that.”To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here.last_img read more