Information and news about philanthropy

Technology and PhilanthropyThe ongoing technological revolution is redefining how global political, social and economic development happens. Currently, around 50 percent of the world is online. According to “Digital Spillover” research conducted by Huawei and Oxford Economics, the digital economy was worth $11.5 trillion in 2016, or 15.5 percent of global gross domestic product. This could grow to nearly 25 percent of global GDP by 2025. This not only transforms today’s business landscape but also the business of doing good deeds. Here are three ways that the relationship between technology and philanthropy is already evolving.

  1. Direct Access to Donors Through Social Media
    Technology can be used to nurture closer links between donors and nonprofits. According to Giving USA, individuals, corporations, foundations and estates donated $410 billion to charities in 2017. This represents less than 3 percent of the United States’ GDP. Working to change this number through fundraising technology is social media platform Facebook. In November 2018, three years of launching its fundraising technology, Facebook reported that donations have broken $1 billion. No Kid Hungry, a U.S.-based child-hunger charity, reported raising $5 million from over 200,000 donors through Facebook fundraisers. Other social media platforms, like GoFundMe, have also made it easier for individuals to connect with causes they feel passionate about. Houses for Refugees is a notable beneficiary of such advancements, receiving over $2 million in donations through crowdfunding and online campaigning.
  2. Unmediated Engagement With People in Need
    Although many people in the world are not yet able to access the necessary technology, the internet is helping connect NGOs and their clientele more efficiently. This will change how NGOs are able to operate in cases of natural or financial disasters, as well as create new and innovative ways in which organizations can make a difference. Mobile cash transfers are becoming a popular way of transferring money to those in remote areas of the world. For example, in 2017, because of difficulties in establishing cash liquidity in Zimbabwe, the U.K. government partnered with CARE International, a major humanitarian organization that is fighting poverty in 92 countries worldwide. This partnership provided small monthly cash payments by mobile phone or SIM cards to over 72,000 families, enabling them to continue buying basic foodstuffs and utilities. Technology can also be used to develop help build communities from the inside, by reducing long-standing tensions between communities. One example of a technology company hoping to change lives by connecting people is Tech2Peace, a joint Palestinian-Israeli startup designed to train youth in technical skills such as website building, while also encouraging intercultural dialogue and conflict resolution sessions.
  3. Better Analytics to Improve Efficiency
    Technology companies are helping nonprofits streamline their systems of data collection and analytics. New technological developments are changing how companies can exercise “Corporate Social Responsibility,” or CSR, an ethical business strategy designed to maximize a company’s positive social influence. For example, Microsoft is currently partnered with the Virginia-based charity Operation Smile, which provides children with the free surgical repair for cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. Operation Smile has a number of programs including operating international medical missions, running care facilities, conducting research on the causes of cleft lip and providing education to improve community treatment worldwide. One area where Microsoft assists Operation Smile is by developing customized solutions that allow the organization to analyze real-time patient outcomes and feedback, sharing simultaneously this data with volunteers around the globe. This cuts downtime spent by individual surgeons for patient evaluations and allows Operation Smile to perform more operations.

Technology and philanthropy are intricately connected. Advancement in technology has improved the relationship between donors and charities, charities and beneficiaries, and streamlined all the processes that define these relationships. As the technological revolution finds new ways to change the world, it will also find new ways to help those in need.

Holly Barsham
Photo: Google Images

Flooding in AfghanistanAfter suffering through an extreme drought for months, Afghanistan now faces a new crisis: severe flash floods. As many as 112,000 people have been affected by the flooding in Afghanistan and entire homes or villages have been swept away. In light of both droughts and conflict, the U.N. has estimated that 6.3 million people will need humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan in 2019. The country has faced extreme adversity and is in desperate need of crucial and life-saving aid.

Drought and Flooding

The extreme drought the country has been facing has made it more difficult for the soil to absorb water, which makes flooding more likely. The El Niño weather phenomenon is also largely responsible for the extreme amounts of rainfall experienced by Afghanistan. Some forecasters have predicted that due to this chaotic weather pattern, rainfall could increase by 40 to 50 percent through May. These chaotic changes in weather have had disastrous effects on Afghanistan and its neighbors. Although the rain has stopped, many in Afghanistan fear that even worse flooding is yet to come. The region is often hit by flash floods due to its rocky terrain, but many claim this is the worst flooding the country has seen in years.

Humanitarian Aid

The International Federation of the Red Cross requested an emergency appeal of 7 million Swiss francs, which they mean to use to support up to 650,000 people affected by the flooding in Afghanistan who need immediate relief. The IFRC wants to use this money to support the Afghan Red Crescent Society, in providing shelter, health care, water and sanitation to those affected by both extreme drought and flooding. Recently, USAID with support of the Department of Defense airlifted over 200 metric tons of relief items regions in Afghanistan. The U.S. also announced that they would be providing an additional $61 million in aid relief funds to provide food assistance, hygiene and safe water.

World Disaster Report

Every year the IFRC conducts a World Disaster Report in order to provide more insight into the causes and effects of disaster situations. The IFRC, in partnership with ARC, launched a campaign last year to research natural disasters in Afghanistan. The report’s findings found that not enough money was being invested in risk prevention and a majority of financial aid was being spent after disasters rather than before. It concluded that building resilience and preparedness within communities before disaster strikes is one of the most important factors in reducing the effects of natural disasters.

Extreme drought and severe flooding in Afghanistan have left its people in a state of emergency. The flooding has also begun to hit Afghanistan’s neighbors, Iran and Pakistan, and is causing the same kind of destruction and displacement. Thousands have been displaced and even more are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. Both U.N. organizations and IFRC are providing crucial aid to combat the aftermath of the flooding in Afghanistan.

– Olivia Halliburton
Photo: Flickr

Generous Billionaires
The most generous billionaires prefer to start charitable institutes or foundations with experts to distribute their money to worthy causes. Some accept applications for grants; others prefer to seek out organizations. Keep reading to learn more about the top seven most generous billionaires.

Top 7 Most Generous Billionaires

  1. Bill Gates
    The co-founder of Microsoft is now the co-chairman and trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, currently the wealthiest foundation in the world. Since 2000, the foundation has spent $36 billion on global health, disaster relief, poverty relief and more. It offers grants to a variety of nonprofits for-profits, and government agencies to carry out data-driven programs. The organization focuses on issues such as global health, such as vaccinations, malaria eradication and safe disposal of human waste.
  2. Chuck Feeney
    This entrepreneur and real estate mogul has earned the nickname “James Bond of Philanthropy.” He is an Irish-American who became a billionaire in the 60s and 70s. But in 1984, he agreed to sign away everything to his foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies. In 2003, he decided to spend his entire fortune in his lifetime, or, as he puts it, “giving while living.” Atlantic Philanthropies is currently in eight countries and has given away $8 billion to “promote fairness and equity for all.” Chuck Feeney’s generosity index (amount given versus current net worth) is 420,000 percent. The foundation is expected to close its doors in 2020 when he achieves his goal of giving everything away.
  3. Warren Buffett
    Warren Buffett is the most charitable billionaire in America, outranking even Bill Gates. He has given away $46 billion since 2000, about 71 percent of his fortune. The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, named in honor of his late wife, pledged $150 million a year in grants to help disadvantaged women by making reproductive healthcare accessible, in addition to other social causes. He has created the now-famous Giving Pledge, in which he calls on generous billionaires to donate half their wealth.
  4. Azim Premji
    The chairman of information technology company Wipro, Azim Premji, dedicates his wealth to improving India’s primary education. Rather than distributing grants, Premji’s foundation, the Azim Premji Foundation, chooses to work with state and local governments to build schools, write curriculum, buy supplies and many other tasks.  He has given away $21 billion and reached 3.5 billion schools. When the foundation could not find enough teachers, Premji created the Azim Premji University to focus on education and development. His donations make him the most generous man in Indian history.
  5. Michael Bloomberg
    The founder and CEO of Bloomberg Media, Michael Bloomberg has given $6 billion through his foundation Bloomberg Philanthropies and has promised half his wealth to the Giving Pledge. His philanthropy is focused on five areas he is passionate about: the environment, public health, the arts, government innovation and education. He is particularly drawn to global warming and other issues, where others might refuse to act due to controversy.
  6. Sheikh Sulaiman bin Abdulaziz bin Saleh Al Rajhi
    Al Rajhi began his career in 1939 at age 10 as a kerosene seller. In 1957, he and his three brothers co-founded the Al Rajhi Bank. The bank saw great success during the oil boom of the 1970s. The family is currently Saudi Arabia’s richest non-royal family. His charitable institution currently funds 1,200 projects across the kingdom. He has given approximately $5.7 billion toward educational, health and religious causes.
  7. George Soros
    After nine years as a successful hedge fund manager, George Soros created his charitable Open Source Foundations. “Open society is based on the recognition that our understanding of the world is inherently imperfect…what is imperfect can be improved,” says Soros on the name of his foundation. His first venture started by offering scholarships to black South Africans and Eastern European dissidents at the University of Cape Town to study abroad. It is now the second-largest American charity, behind the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Soros has given $8 billion to Open Source Foundations.

According to Forbes, there are more than 2,000 billionaires in the world. Many only donate a nominal amount to charity. The generous billionaires on this list have been chosen not by the dollar amounts of their donations, but the percentage of their fortune they have given away.

In 2010, the Gates partnered with Warren Buffett to create the Giving Pledge, a commitment by wealthy individuals to give over half of their wealth away. The Pledge started with 40 individuals but has since grown to 190. Buffet stated, “More than 99 percent of my wealth will go to philanthropy during my lifetime or at death. Measured by dollars, this commitment is large. In a comparative sense, though, many individuals give more to others every day.”

Jackie Mead
Photo: Google Images

Similarities and Differences Between a Charity, Non-profit Organization and Philanthropy
To get a better understanding of the different ways in which one can contribute to the community, it’s important to know the similarities and differences between charities, nonprofit organizations and philanthropy.

A large part of progress in the world is due to humanitarian aid and contribution, whether it be people donating money or food to the less fortunate or people coming together to work for and promote human welfare. Charities, nonprofit organizations and philanthropy are important to communities because each is effective in bringing positive change and offers valuable opportunities and programs to people.

Giving USA reports that charitable donations surged to an estimated $410.02 billion in 2017, a major increase of 5.2 percent from $389.64 in 2016. This is the first time that Giving exceeded $400 billion in one year.

While charities, nonprofit organizations and philanthropy can be used interchangeably and are similar in that each brings positive change, they differ significantly in the way they operate.

Charities

A charity is an immediate but emotional monetary donation or short-term contribution usually intended for crisis and relief efforts and supported completely by the public.

People usually donate to a charity that they have a personal connection to or are emotionally affected by. For instance, if a person is deeply concerned about animals, he or she may give a monetary donation at a local animal shelter.

According to Score, one of the ways to understand the differences between charities, nonprofit organizations and philanthropy is to remember that a nonprofit’s purpose is educational or religious and if its funds promote a cause that affects the general public and uses public solicitation to operate, it is most likely a charity.

Examples of donations to a charity include giving money or food to a homeless shelter, donating to an animal shelter, giving money to The Salvation Army bell-ringers outside one’s local supermarket during the holiday season, etc.

Nonprofit Organizations

A nonprofit organization and a charity are similar in that they both operate on a not-for-profit basis but differ based on whether it is tax-deductible and even in the way it operates. A charitable donation can count as tax-deductible while nonprofit organizations have to meet certain requirements and file with the IRS as a charitable organization.

A popular nationwide nonprofit organization is the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross website states that a donor’s donation goes toward strengthening the Red Cross response to nearly 64,000 disasters a year, providing a safe place, food and other necessities to affected individuals and their families. In 2016, the Red Cross provided 385,000 emergency assistance services, gave millions CPR and AED training and supplied 7 million blood products to patients in need.

Philanthropy

One way to remember the differences between charities, nonprofit organizations and philanthropy is by understanding that charities and nonprofits give/contribute while philanthropy involves action. For instance, while a charity can be a quick one-time donation to a school, philanthropy would work toward providing academic scholarships to students or funding to build a better school. Charities aim to lessen the suffering caused by social problems while philanthropists work toward ending social problems.

According to Medium, philanthropy is a long-term strategic investment and intervention dedicated to building long-lasting and successful change in individuals and communities.

While many think a philanthropist is someone who donates large amounts of money to an organization, a philanthropist can be somebody devoted to ending a certain social problem and promoting human welfare.

Impact and Importance

Although there are several differences between charities, nonprofit organizations and philanthropy, the important part is that all of these are effective in building a more efficient and progressive world. It doesn’t matter if someone donates to charities or nonprofit organizations or decides to become a philanthropist, what matters is their contribution serves to help those in need and is also another step toward progress.

– Kristen Uedoi
Photo: Flickr

 

The Rise of Philanthropy in China
China has often been regarded as an “uncharitable” culture. Based on the numbers, there is a large gap between philanthropy in China and the U.S., with only
.17 percent of China’s total GDP in 2014 contributed to philanthropy compared to that of the U.S.’s 12 percent of its total GDP. However, the rise of philanthropy in China cannot be ignored as the country is going through a “Philanthropy Evolution.”

Through traditions like Confucianism, philanthropy is not a nonexistent concept in China. Throughout the text of Confucianism’s “The Analects,” the concept of philanthropy prevails, often enforcing the idea that man should give to people who are less fortunate. During Communist China, philanthropy soon became a concept for only the wealthy.

Why China is Regarded as Uncharitable

Corruption often strays many people away from donating. Prior to 2011, many organizations and charities in China functioned in a quasi-legal environment. Enforcement was often categorized as “unpredictable and inconsistent.”

An important and well-known case is the Red Cross Society incident in 2011 in which a woman who held a senior position soon began flashing new and luxurious items. According to the New York Times, “[the scandal] struck a serious blow to China’s nascent notions of philanthropy, especially efforts guided by the government.”

The rate of development of a country may, in fact, have a correlation to the country’s overall philanthropic activities. Western countries such as the U.S. were able to create and maintain wealth for a much longer period of time as they developed. This was not the same for China.

If one looks at philanthropy in regard to wealthy entrepreneurs and their contributions, “[China has only] sustained real economic power for just over 10 years; therefore, Chinese enterprises are still in the stage of creating wealth.” Not only are Chinese enterprises still in this stage of creating wealth, but before the last decade, charity remained “a state-controlled process focused almost solely on Communist party priorities.”

Change in Philanthropy

The rise of philanthropy in China can be credited to the efforts of the country. For example, the National People’s Congress (NPC) of China passed a New Charity Law that took effect on September 1, 2016. Key areas of interest comprised in this new charity law include registration as a charitable organization, new rules for fundraising platforms, new rules for fundraising organizations, the establishment of charitable trusts and law enforcement. The New Charity Law, in fact, makes it easier to raise funds from the general public.

With legal modifications, the internet has made donating funds and supporting charitable organizations much easier for the public. Philanthropy leaders in China understood quickly that social media had a huge impact and began using it to promote a nonprofit sector that was able to link news-related social issues to social media users across China.

With a couple taps on sites such as Tencent Online Donation platform, Sina Micro-Philanthropy Platform and Alipay E-Philanthropy Platform, ordinary people are able to donate money to different charities with ease. According to the China Online Donations Report, “the total online donations through third-party social network donation platforms surpassed $83 million in 2013.” Similarly, in 2013, the Jet Li foundation raised over $49 million in donations through social media for the victims of the Lushan Earthquake.

Continuing the Rise of Philanthropy in China

Many organizations are working to keep propelling philanthropic efforts forward. For instance, The Asia Foundation reports that “Give2Asia hosted a forum in Beijing, which brought together over 60 leaders from different sectors of philanthropy, government and business to discuss the current state of charitable giving in China, and new directions and opportunities for philanthropists in the future.” The forum discussed that funds had risen by ¥97 million after the earthquake and that there was an increase of about 100 million volunteers through China.

Furthermore, in order to change the philanthropic sector, and to fill the gap between China’s philanthropic activities and other countries, the government, charities and people must work together. Yet, with China’s legal modifications, a rise of philanthropists and a change in the general public’s mindset, the future of philanthropy is looking bright in China.

– Emma Martin
Photo: Flickr

SheaMoisture's philanthropic efforts in Africa
As brands in the U.S. continue to see the importance of fair trade and ethically-conscious practices in business, many have also developed philanthropic initiatives. SheaMoisture’s philanthropic efforts in Africa have helped thousands of economically disadvantaged women and children gain resources to educational and entrepreneurial resources.

The hair and skin care brand was established under Sundial Brands, which was founded by Richelieu Dennis in 1991. Since then, SheaMoisture acquired an estimated $300 million in revenue before it was sold to Unilever in 2017.

SheaMoisture’s Philanthropic Efforts in Africa

Nations that have benefitted from SheaMoisture’s philanthropic efforts in Africa include Ghana and Liberia. In these two countries, women face cultural oppression in the areas of education and entrepreneurship.

In a report published by the U.N., it was stated that women in Ghana are more vulnerable to poverty than men due to gender discrimination and increasingly difficult access to productive resources. This has also led to women facing greater challenges with obtaining a post-primary education.

Women in Liberia face economic challenges due to a poor governance structure and low private sector capacity that has resulted in a weak business environment within the nation. Furthermore, Liberia’s labor force lacks many skilled and literate people, which has resulted in lingering business corruption.

Over the years, SheaMoisture’s philanthropic efforts in Africa have included initiatives such as Community Commerce, the Girls Entrepreneurship and Technology (GET) Program and the Sofi Tucker Foundation.

Community Commerce

SheaMoisture established a special line of products under their Community Commerce initiative, where 10 percent of sales support women in Ghana, among other nations. This venture has been a success because it has brought economic opportunities to women threatened by poverty and educational disadvantages.

Over time, Community Commerce has invested an estimated $2.1 million in its programs, which have brought needed resources to an estimated 14,500 Ghanaian women. The company, in turn, has been able to meet its product demand, with an estimated 420,000 kilos of shea butter having been produced by women who are beneficiaries of Community Commerce.

The GET Program for Students

Another initiative SheaMoisture has established is the GET Program, which was established in partnership with SMART Liberia. The program provides women between the ages of 18 to 35 the opportunities to start their own businesses by giving them resources like training and business investments.

In its inaugural year in 2016, the program selected 50 young women in Liberia to participate, several of whom have gone on to start and manage their own businesses.

The Sofi Tucker Foundation

Another philanthropic initiative established by the company is the Sofi Tucker Foundation, which was named after the woman who inspired the SheaMoisture brand.

The organization has awarded other non-profits with grants up to $25,000 to continue philanthropy work. One organization that has benefitted from these efforts is Todee Mission School in Liberia, which provides quality educational resources to children from first grade to ninth grade from 140 villages in rural Liberia.

As of now, thousands of people initially threatened by poverty have been able to establish stronger financial and educational platforms for their futures. This is due to SheaMoisture’s philanthropic efforts in Africa and the ongoing efforts brands have made over the years to combat poverty in nations with fragile economies.

– Lois Charm

Photo: Flickr

gamification of philanthropy

While the internet has brought dramatic change to the ways people live their daily lives, it has also opened many doors for businesses to fulfill their corporate social responsibility. Alipay’s in-app game program “Ant Farm” is an excellent example of successful gamification of philanthropy by businesses.

Alipay, China’s largest third-party online payment platform, has reshaped the landscape of payment services in China for the last decade. At present, Alipay has a user base of 520 million people, handles more than 170 million transactions per day and accounts for more than two-thirds of mobile payments in China.

Credit card use only has about 400 million patrons. Alipay rules China’s mobile payment market with absolute authority. A Forbes article claims that “cash really is becoming a thing of the past” because a “smartphone (with Alipay) will do nicely”.

Such immense popularity of the platform opened the door to the utilization of its unprecedented user-engagement for social good. Ant Farm came into being, representing the balance between marketing strategy and fulfillment of social responsibility.

Ant Farm is a pre-installed online game program inside the Alipay mobile phone application, in which users keep a virtual chicken as a pet. Through daily payments via Alipay users can feed their chicken and collect hearts to be donated to charity projects.

The parent company of Alipay and Ant Farm, Ant Financial, is working closely with governmental offices like Jiangsu Sihong Poverty Alleviation Office and more than 1,200 charity organizations. According its 2016 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, Ant Financial’s philanthropy platform has raised more than $140 million for the services provided to its partner nonprofits.

On top of the basic construct, developers have added many interactive mechanisms to boost Ant Farm’s participation. For example, playing with the pet chicken can also generate hearts and users can interact with their friends’ farms. Eventually, more and more users are engaged, funding more and more philanthropic projects.

Ant Farm is a successful model of the gamification of philanthropy, attracting hundreds of thousands of people to take part in charity projects, which is much more efficient and larger in scale than traditional models of philanthropic fundraising like donation boxes. In addition, by implementing the basic elements of an online game, Ant Farm has more charm than other heavy-hearted fundraising strategies.

Other companies have also engaged in social projects through gamification of philanthropy. Tencent, one of China’s internet and technology giants, has also cooperated with nonprofits working to provide education for left-behind children in impoverished regions by creating donation venues in its online games. In certain Tencent games, users can donate their equipment in exchange for reward or recognition.

Tencent Foundation chairman Guo Kaitian believes that with the help of online platforms like Ant Farm, “charity is now everywhere around us, and it is now the life attitude with innovation and participation”.

– Chaorong Wang
Photo: Flickr

AT&T philanthropyIn 1876, AT&T founder Alexander Graham Bell developed one of the most significant devices ever invented, the telephone. In 1947, AT&T created the concept of cellular telephony, and in 1948 they built the first network service that allowed television broadcasters to connect between cities. In 1971, AT&T produced Unix, the underlying language of the internet.

In addition to its technical advancements, for AT&T philanthropy has become one of its core missions, beginning in the early days with the goal to provide telephone access to every household in the United States. Eventually, that core focus evolved as AT&T transitioned from a telephone company to a wireless technology company firmly committed to the potential for technological advances that connected the world.

In its drive for global interconnectivity, AT&T has donated $139.3 million to philanthropic efforts around the globe. Their programs are divided into several focus areas, including art and culture, civic and community, health and welfare, as well as education.

In Malaysia, AT&T partnered with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to host an annual developers’ day in Kuala Lumpur. The event opened opportunities for young entrepreneurs in Asia to compete by producing mobile applications.

AT&T philanthropy efforts provided the networking infrastructure and educational resources that made the event a success. The winners of the competition received $10,000. Additionally, AT&T provided five scholarships to Udacity for an online degree in the technology field.

In Mexico, AT&T funds a project called “Laboratoria”. This organization discovers talented women and helps them learn the skills they need to be successful in the business world, including teaching them web development and programming. The curriculum is comprehensive and connects graduates with companies that will likely hire them, including AT&T.

Other charities that AT&T is involved with include TECHO, a youth-led nonprofit focused on poverty-stricken areas in Latin America and the Carribean. AT&T’s funding of TECHO supports the building of pre-manufactured modular homes, made in two days with the participation of youth volunteers and families in the community. The collaborative aspects of TECHO’s approach help to further build trust amongst the volunteers and the communities they serve.

In 2016, AT&T philanthropy efforts granted $1.35 million to Télécoms Sans Frontières. Headquartered in Europe with sister stations in Bangkok and Nicaragua, they provide emergency telco service and support to first responders, victims and volunteers who are affected by natural disasters.

AT&T also supports Junior Achievement worldwide in Europe and Latin America, which awards students access to work experience program,s granting scholars the ability to join entrepreneurial programs that empower them to learn how to create their enterprise.

Uniquely, AT&T’s philanthropy efforts do not merely fund free giveaways. They have curated their philanthropy to focus on significant long-term solutions offering education and job readiness courses.

AT&T’s mission statement says, “Today, our mission is to connect people with their world, everywhere they live and work, and do it better than anyone else.” The firm belief of connecting everyone everywhere has enabled AT&T to support causes that cover every continent on the globe.

– Hector Cruz

Photo: Flickr

Philanthropists in American Professional SportsThere are many American athletes who are not only known for their athletic abilities, but also their philanthropic efforts. Here are four of the most impactful:

Roger Federer
Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2017, Roger Federer has seen a career in professional tennis filled with success. His remarkable performance on the court was closely rivaled by his humanitarian efforts over the years. The Roger Federer Foundation works in six countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in Switzerland, to improve struggling educational systems. In 2016, the foundation spent over $6 million to improve access to and quality of early education for impoverished children. Federer serves as a shining example of how charity and sports can successfully go hand-in-hand.

Madieu Williams
Madieu Williams is a former NFL safety who played for multiple teams, including the Cincinnati Bengals and the Minnesota Vikings. Williams grew up in Sierra Leone in West Africa and moved to the U.S. when he was nine years old. He created the Madieu Williams Foundation in 2006 and returns to Sierra Leone every year to help improve education and build schools. The Madieu Williams Foundation also focuses on improving the health of children living in poverty in both Sierra Leone and in the U.S. Williams has also donated $2 million to build the Madieu Williams Center for Global Health Initiatives at the University of Maryland.

Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitzki is the highest-scoring foreign-born basketball player in NBA history. Born in Germany, Nowitzki came to America to play professional basketball as a young adult and has since been named an all-star 13 times. Nowitzki was the first European player to play in an NBA all-star game in 2007, and as his career took off, so did his philanthropic efforts. In 2013, Nowitzki was named the German ambassador for UNICEF, with a focus on eliminating child hunger and malnutrition around the world. He also started the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation, which works to fight poverty and hunger in Africa.

David Ortiz
Born in the Dominican Republic, David Ortiz came to America and saw a long, prosperous baseball career, winning two World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox. One of the greatest to play the game of baseball, Ortiz is also one of the most dedicated philanthropists in American professional sports. Ortiz has always prioritized improving the quality of – and the ease of access to – healthcare for children. The David Ortiz Children’s Fund works in the Dominican Republic and in the U.S., and has a focus on providing adequate healthcare to impoverished children with congenital heart defects.

Regardless of team affiliation, these athletes are using their fame and their platforms to make a real and tangible difference in the fight against global poverty. In addition to these efforts, the awareness they raise surrounding these issues has surely inspired – and will continue to inspire – others to contribute to the fight against poverty and make a difference.

Tyler Troped

Photo: Flickr

Forever 21 gives back to those in need, having carried products over the years in aid of a number of organizations. Purchases from the popular retailer have contributed to the donation of $11.5 million worth of merchandise throughout 2016 to global charities such as Soles4Souls, On Your Feet and the Feed Project.

Soles4Souls is a nonprofit that collects and distributes shoes and clothing to disadvantaged communities in 127 countries around the world and throughout the U.S. As a part of its partnership with Forever 21, Soles4Souls has donated more than 800,000 units of clothing. Initially founded as a disaster relief organization, Soles4Souls provided footwear to those affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

In many developing nations where walking is the primary mode of transportation, millions of people lack proper footwear to get around, and as a result, are exposed to unsanitary conditions that can lead to disease. These conditions contribute to the ongoing cycle of poverty, and the vision of Soles4Souls is to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, and its efforts to provide a new pair of shoes to each child in need help work toward that goal.

Forever 21 gives back through its collaboration with the On Your Feet Family Resource Center, which provides assistance to low-income or homeless families and individuals, shelters, missions, board and care facilities and other organizations. Forever 21 has provided nearly 700,000 units worth of clothing donations, which have reached victims of natural disasters in Nepal, Chile, Bohol and Haiti.

FEED was founded by Lauren Bush in 2007 and has transformed into a movement fighting against hunger in a tangible way. FEED creates handcrafted products, such as bags, pouches and bracelets, using eco-friendly materials and fair labor. Giving these products raises aid that is ultimately delivered in the form of school meals, micronutrients, mother-child nutrition, Vitamin A and emergency relief. Together, Forever 21 and FEED have provided more than 71,000 meals.

While designing and keeping up with the latest trends for consumers, it is also evident that Forever 21 gives back to vulnerable communities. By establishing alliances with such charitable organizations, great numbers of people in underprivileged areas have received the assistance needed to ease their poverty and hunger and move toward prosperity.

Mikaela Frigillana

Photo: Flickr