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Making a Beautiful Difference in Iowa – Women of Worth PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Amanda Gluck   
Monday, 12 November 2012 09:25

I would like to introduce you to two women who are making a beautiful difference in Iowa…

Dr. Ida Johnson of Davenport, IA is the Founder of United Neighbors, Inc., an organization that helps others help themselves while building self-worth, and includes youth, education, housing, financial literacy and multicultural healthcare programs.  Sarah Cronk of Bettendorf, IA is the Founder of The Sparkle Effect, a student-run program that empowers teens nationwide to include students with disabilities in school-based cheerleading and dance programs.

Ida and Sarah are two of ten women chosen out of thousands of nominations to become Women of Worth honorees. The amazing Women of Worth program, which honors women making a difference in their communities, is launching their voting phase today to gain recognition for their incredibly inspiring honorees. This is the program’s 7th year, with each of the below 10 women being chosen out of thousands of nominations – they each get $10K for their organizations and whoever gets the most votes (starting today through the 21st) from the public gets an additional $25K and is named the Women of Worth National Honoree.

When Dr. Ida Johnson moved to Iowa 38 years ago as a newly divorced mother, leaving behind an abusive ex-husband in search of a better life for her five children, she found a home in a low-income, inner city neighborhood and employment in a kitchen at St. Ambrose University. Fighting to keep her family safe, intact and fed, Ida began bringing neighborhood children into her home for games and learning activities.

Now, nearly 40 years later, with the mission of helping others help themselves while building self-worth, United Neighbors has helped to take children off the streets and into a safe place, with an after-school program bringing in tutors to assist with homework and teach computer skills. Kids in the program receive a home-cooked meal and participate in creative activities, then are safely driven home each evening. Additional programs include first-time homebuyer education, down payment assistance, a minimum code home repair program in partnership with the City of Davenport and a multicultural health initiative to provide health education seminars to nearly 400 underserved people in the area each year.

Sarah Cronk grew up watching her older brother, Charlie, struggle to make friends due to his disability and noticed that it wasn't until the popular swim team captain invited Charlie to sit at his lunch table that things began to turn around. He encouraged Charlie to join the team and Sarah watched her brother's confidence soar.

In 2008, Sarah created and coached the nation's first inclusive cheerleading squad at her high school. A year later, she established her nonprofit, The Sparkle Effect (TSE), a student-run program that empowers teens nationwide to include students with disabilities in school-based cheerleading and dance programs.

More than five million students with disabilities attend public schools in the United States, yet most school sports and activities are not designed to accommodate these students. As a result, students with disabilities are left sidelined – excluded from high school sports and the social opportunities they offer. Students participating on TSE teams are breaking down social barriers, replacing insecurity with confidence and joy, and demonstrating that when we open our minds and our hearts to people of all abilities, everyone benefits. Within the past year, TSE has grown from 25 to over 70 teams nationwide, directly including more than 1,200 students.



The Women of Worth initiative, now in its seventh year, is inspired by L’Oréal Paris’ iconic brand philosophy, “Because You're Worth It.” Since its inception, the program has recognized 70 women for their outstanding devotion to their causes, with honorees embodying the spirit of the L’Oréal Paris brand through their commitment to their communities, their selflessness and their drive to make a difference in the world.


Now in its seventh year, the Women of Worth program has recognized 70 incredible women to date for their amazing accomplishments, and this year’s ten honorees continue to inspire through their dedication to philanthropy and their passion for improving the world. From young women who pioneered programs while still in high school to women who have been changing lives for decades, 2012’s Women of Worth honorees are making an extraordinary difference in their communities.


Each of the incredible honorees has received $10,000 for her charitable cause and will be recognized at an awards ceremony and dinner hosted by L'Oréal Paris and Hearst Magazines on December 6th in New York City. At the event, one National Honoree, chosen via a public online vote, will be announced, and she will receive an additional $25,000 for her charity.



Public online voting for the Women of Worth National Honoree is open from today through November 21st on Visitors to the site can vote once per day for their favorite Woman of Worth, and the honoree with the most votes will be named National Honoree.



Setting the bar for extraordinary philanthropic efforts, this year’s honorees support a wealth of important causes, from healthcare to education and everything in between.


·         Amy Paterson – Portland, OR; Co-founder of My Little Waiting Room, an organization that promotes the health and well-being of families by bringing drop-in child care to hospitals so that children can thrive as families heal.

·         Catherine Meek – Los Angeles, CA; Executive Director of School on Wheels, an organization that enhances educational opportunities for homeless children by providing homeless students with one-on-one volunteer tutors.

·         Dr. Ida Johnson – Davenport, IA; Founder of United Neighbors, Inc., an organization that helps others help themselves while building self-worth, and includes youth, education, housing, financial literacy and multicultural healthcare programs.

·         Kate Bialo – Larchmont, NY; Founder and Executive Director of Furniture Sharehouse, an organization that empowers underprivileged families by providing basic furniture to turn their house into a home.

·         Lorraine Kerwood – Eugene, OR; Founder of NextStep, an organization that focuses on people, the planet and education by providing community members with disabilities the tools they need to succeed academically and in the workplace.

·         Olivia Stinson – Charlotte, NC; Founder of Pen Pals Book Club and Support Group, an organization that strives to promote literacy and provide cultural and social activities for children with incarcerated parents.

·         Risa Vetri Ferman – Abington, PA; Co-founder of Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center, a non-profit that gives child abuse victims a voice and helps them heal.

·         Sandy Puc’ – Littleton, CO; Co-founder of Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, an organization that provides the gift of remembrance photography for parents suffering the loss of a baby. 

·         Sarah Cronk – Bettendorf, IA; Founder of The Sparkle Effect, a student-run program that empowers teens nationwide to include students with disabilities in school-based cheerleading and dance programs.

·         Sue Runsvold – San Jose, CA; Founder of TurningWheels for Kids, an organization that provides a brand new bike to every low-income, at-risk child who needs or wants one.

News Releases - General Info
Written by Dave Fairweather   
Tuesday, 06 November 2012 14:25

The Exchange Club of the Quad Cities passed out free flags at this year’s Boo at the Zoo event at Niabi Zoo on October 27. The Exchange Club handed out more than 1600 flags to the trick-or-treaters who came to the zoo for an early Halloween celebration on the chilly Saturday morning. The Exchange Club partnered with the Child Abuse Council of the Quad Cities to make sure all the little goblins received their very own American flag.

Established as a national Exchange project in 1981, GiveAKidAFlagToWave helps young Americans cultivate a deeper sense of patriotism and to heighten young American’s and appreciation for our country’s flag.


The National Exchange Club, headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, is an all-volunteer, national service organization for men and women who want to serve their community, develop leadership skills and enjoy new friendships. Exchange has over 21,000 members throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

The Exchange Club mission is to work together to make our communities better places to live through child abuse prevention, community service, service to youth, and promotion of Americanism.

The Exchange Club of Quad Cities is a local chapter of the national organization. The club meets on the first and third Thursday of each month at The Windmill Restaurant in East Moline, Illinois. Social time begins at 6:00 PM with dinner following at 6:30 PM. Guests are always welcome to attend any meeting. For membership information, call Bob Dixon at 797-5705.

Exchange Give A Kid A Flag To Wave 2012.tif

Davenport Area Schools Join Mediacom’s “Shoes That Fit” Campaign PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Alexandra Swanson   
Tuesday, 06 November 2012 13:39

Public Encouraged to Help Meet Clothing Needs of Local Children

Davenport, Iowa – November 6, 2012 – School age children from 14 Davenport area elementary schools will benefit this year from the annual “Shoes That Fit” campaign that supplies need-specific shoes and clothing to local elementary school students. The non-profit community outreach program is led by Mediacom, along with Davenport area business partners Mimzi Art and Frame and Deere Harvester Credit Union.

The purpose of Shoes That Fit is to fulfill specific shoe and clothing needs, matched to individual children identified by school liaisons.  The donations of new shoes, boots, coats or other clothing are often the only genuinely “new” items available to children whose needs have been confidentially assessed. (School partners list below)

“The program is about more than shoes,” says Mediacom’s Jim Stoos who is vice president for the company’s OnMedia advertising division.  “In many classrooms, teachers will see a child with only one set of clothes and a pair of worn out shoes to wear to school every day.  This affects a child’s self-esteem, and it means that learning takes a back seat to embarrassment,” said Stoos.

“Thanks to Mimzi Art and Frame and Deere Harvester Credit Union, we can help local children feel good about themselves and feel good about being in school. Additionally, people who donate the shoes and clothes to make this program a success will feel especially good about giving tangible assistance to meet the needs of local children,” Stoos added.

The local business sponsors provide locations where community members can pick up Shoes That Fit donation cards.  Donor cards describe the needed items and the specificity of the child’s gender and size.  Individual donors shop for the items and return them, unwrapped, to the business sponsor. Mediacom’s OnMedia team ensures prompt delivery to the students through the school liaison.  Only new shoes and clothing can be accepted.

The program is underway now through December 1. School partners encourage donors to shop for and return items as soon as possible, especially to get ahead of winter weather and the need for boots and coats.

OnMedia is the cable television advertising division of Mediacom.  Local OnMedia employees have coordinated the Shoes That Fit campaign for the past 11 years. Throughout that time they have partnered with more than 50 elementary schools in Des Moines, Newton, Marshalltown and Ames and have donated more than 73,000 Shoes That Fit items to elementary school children in need.  For more information on Shoes That Fit visit


Davenport Area Business Partner Locations for Donor Cards and Shoes That Fit Drop-off


Mimzi Art and Frame - 3825 16th Street, Moline, IL 61265

Deere Harvester Credit Union - 5354 Elmore Circle, Davenport, IA 52807

Deere Harvester Credit Union -1090 South Congress Street, Geneseo, IL 61254

Deere Harvester Credit Union -1101 13th Avenue, East Moline, IL 61244


Local Elementary Schools where students benefit from Shoes That Fit

·         Fillmore Elementary

·         Jefferson Edison Elementary

·         Madison Elementary

·         Monroe Elementary

·         Riverdale Heights Elementary (Bettendorf)

·         Washington Elementary

·         Wilson Elementary

·         Bridgeview School Elementary (Pleasant Valley)

·         Jackson Schools

·         Buchanan Elementary

·         Marquette Academy

·         McKinley Elementary

·         Children’s Village

·         Hayes School Elementary

E-Commerce Businesses Stand to Lose More Without Asset Protection PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 06 November 2012 13:34
By: Hillel Presser

What differentiates commerce businesses from traditional businesses when it comes to asset protection?

Potentially more assets in need of protecting.

Both types of business owners have assets such as homes, cars and bank accounts that need protection in the event of a lawsuit – whether it’s a personal suit or one targeting the business. E-commerce businesses may need more financial protection to cover their wealth of intangible assets, including domain names, website content, intellectual property, trademarks and patents. Additionally, an e-commerce business may prove to be more of a lawsuit liabilitybecause it’s vulnerable not only in the state where the storefront or warehouse is located, but essentially everywhere substantial connections are made, including internationally. In that sense, theneed to create, maintain and regularly update an asset protection plan becomes more urgent.

To legally shield wealth from lawsuits and other potential threats, including divorce, business owners of all types should have an asset protection plan. This multi-layered strategy involves a range of techniques to title assets such as homes, savings and property (tangible and intangible) in the event that a claim is brought against the business or owner. It’s not a guarantee that the protected person will avoid lawsuits or other financial calamities, but it can guarantee they’ll lose fewer assets if the worstdoes happen.

I advise clients to work with an attorney to create a plan that’s the best fit for their specific financial situation. Clients should: 1) educate themselves, 2) inventory their wealth, 3) assess their liabilities, 4) decide the best asset protection tactic or strategy to use with each asset inventoried, and 5) execute the plan.

• Educate yourself. Clients should understand what’s going on when theirattorney is creating theirplan, how it relates to their life, and what changes will trigger the need for an update. They should learn what they can and can’t transfer as well as whothey should and shouldn’t transfer assets to, even temporarily. For instance, if they “gift” a home to their children shortly after or in proximity to a civil claim filed against them, in the event of a judgment that gift may be looked upon as a fraudulent transfer. It could be reversed, making their home susceptible to the creditor judgment. Education is key to maintaining long-term asset protection.The Presser Law Firm, P.A. offers complimentary books on asset protection and an asset protection worksheet at; submit a request in the contact form.

• Inventory your wealth. They should include both tangible and intangible financial recourses. Tangible assets include but are not limited to: their home, real estate, bank accounts, vehicles, boats, etc. Intangible assets include but are not limited to: patents, copyrights, franchises, goodwill, trademarks, domain names and trade names, etc.

• Assess your liabilities, present and future. Some present liabilities could include current creditors (whether or not they have claims against the client), personal guarantees on home or business loans, and the client’s marital status as well as longevity of your marriage. Future liabilities include unexpected potential financial risks. A failing business in an economy downturn is a good example.Surely many businesses didn’t contemplate their demise in the financial and economic crash of 2008. Those owners without anasset protection plan in place prior to 2008 were out of luck when their life savings, homes, real estate and other wealthy were jeopardized by creditor lawsuits. The best advice fore-commerce business owners is to be proactive – the threat of a suit can bring a business to its knees and the best way to protect themselvesis to practice financial self-defense and lawsuit-proof their assets.

• Decide whether or not to re-title their assets, what entity formations to use, and whether equity stripping is appropriate for assets still inadequately protected. Only non-exempt assets need to be re-titled. Exempt assets are those that cannot be seized in the event of a judgment. All non-exempt assets should be re-titled as exempt assets and/or transferred to more protected entities such as a Limited Liability Company, Limited Liability Partnership or Family Limited Partnership, to name a few. Each entity has its own advantages and disadvantages and each person may have specific needs that make one of these entities more advantageous than the others. Alternatively, these assets can be titled to either domestic or international trusts. International trusts, such as the NEVIS trust, are especially protective because the laws of most preferred international trust locations favor the owner of the trust over creditors. Any unprotected assets can be stripped of their equity. For example, taking out a loan on a home that the client owns free and clear would make them more undesirable to a creditor than if they had full equity in the home.

• Implement the plan and maintain the protection over the years. Asset protection plans should be reviewed at least once a year and whenever there is a potential for litigation. Also, integrating an estate plan into anasset protection plan is essential because an unexpected death intestate could tie up an estate in litigation for years.

Asset protection is important for all business owners in today’s litigious society. E-commerce businesses are even more vulnerable to lawsuits and potentially have more assets to protect. Business owners should enlist the assistance of anasset protection attorney to create, implement and help maintain a lawsuit-proof plan, and they should have an estate plan as well.

About Hillel L. Presser

Hillel L. Presser’s firm, The Presser Law Firm, P.A., represents individuals and businesses in establishing comprehensive asset protection plans. He is a graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Management and Nova Southeastern University’s law school, and serves on Nova’s President’s Advisory Council. The Presser Law Firm, P.A. offers complimentary books on asset protection and an asset protection worksheet to help you create an inventory at; submit a request in the contact form.

IBHS Urges Home and Business Owners to Reduce Risk of Winter-Related Damage Now PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joseph King   
Friday, 02 November 2012 09:12

Tampa, Fla. (October 31, 2012) – With many Mid-Atlantic and Appalachian states receiving as much as two feet of snow from Super Storm Sandy, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) reminds business and homeowners that now is the time to prepare their property for the 2012-2013 winter season to help reduce  damage caused from freezing weather.

“Winter weather can cause numerous problems from burst pipes to roof collapses to interior fires,” said Julie Rochman, president and CEO of IBHS. “Taking steps now to prepare your home or business to withstand the effects of winter storms and freezing weather will help you avoid costly losses and possible business interruptions later.”

Freezing Pipes
Frozen water in pipes can cause them to burst. Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are particularly vulnerable to freezing in extremely cold weather. Find out how to keep water in pipes from freezing here:

Is Your Roof Strong Enough?
The age of a building is a major determinant of how much snow and ice it can handle before collapsing. Get more information about roof snow and ice load ranges here:

Ice Dams
When interior heat melts the snow on the roof the water will run down and refreeze at the roof’s edge, where temperatures are colder. The ice build-up blocks water from draining off of the roof, forcing the water under the roof covering and into the attic or down the inside walls of the house. Check out IBHS’ guidance on how to decrease the likelihood that ice dams will form here:

Alternative Heating Devices
Falling temperatures also mean increased fire dangers linked to the use of heating devices. Rising fuel prices and environmental concerns have driven many consumers to seek alternate ways to heat their homes and businesses. Consult IBHS’ Alternative Heating Sources guide to be safe when choosing or installing space heaters, wood pellet stoves, fireplaces or other heating sources.

IBHS’ Freezing Weather page on provides guidance on how to protect your home or business against other winter weather-related perils.

for more information about how to make your buildings more resistant to a variety of disasters, large and small. Follow IBHS on Twitter at @DisasterSafety and on

# # #

About IBHS

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) is an independent, nonprofit, research and communications organization supported by the property insurance industry. The IBHS mission is to conduct objective, scientific research in order to identify and promote effective actions that strengthen homes, businesses, and communities against natural disasters and other causes of loss.

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