Information and news about philanthropy

The WeekndThe Weeknd is famous for his singing, songwriting and producing career. He performed at the halftime show in the 2021 Super Bowl and even won an Oscar for his song “Earned It,” which was featured in the film “Fifty Shades of Grey.” What many don’t know about The Weeknd is that he is a philanthropist who quietly donates to several organizations that help global poverty relief.

The Weeknd’s Background

Much of The Weeknd’s philanthropy ties back to his cultural roots. Born as Abel Tesfaye, The Weeknd’s parents are Ethiopian immigrants. Although Tesfaye grew up in Toronto, Canada, his first language was Amharic. Amharic is one of the two main languages of Ethiopia, further showing his connection to the region.

Ethiopian Philanthropy

A significant portion of The Weeknd’s philanthropy goes toward his parents’ home country of Ethiopia. In April 2021, he donated $1 million to World Food Program USA, which is the U.S. affiliate of the United Nations World Food Programme. This donation will fund two million meals in Ethiopia. Specifically, these meals will benefit people who do not have access to food in the northern Tigray region where there is an ongoing ethnic conflict with Ethiopia’s neighboring country, Eritrea. Civilians suffer the most from the conflict. They are often in danger, living in poor conditions and risk rape, violence and death.

When announcing his donation to World Food Program USA, The Weeknd stated in an Instagram post that, “My heart breaks for my people of Ethiopia as innocent civilians ranging from small children to the elderly are being senselessly murdered and entire villages are being displaced out of fear and destruction.”

Prior to The Weeknd’s donation, the World Food Programme provided corn, rice and vegetable oil to 60,000 people in the northern Tigray region. The program also began an initiative to support pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as children in the region, with the goal of reaching 875,000 people. The program also has two refugee camps in Tigray, open to people seeking safety and help.

Donations to Beirut

The Weeknd’s philanthropy extends beyond Ethiopia, as he donated to COVID-19 relief as well as relief for Beirut, Lebanon. Following an explosion at the Port of Beirut, The Weeknd donated $300,000 to Global Aid for Lebanon. The explosion damaged homes, infrastructure and hospitals. It injured 6,000 people and killed 180. The detonation also damaged the city’s main hospital and other clinics, making it difficult to treat victims. The explosion was also at the city’s port, which drastically affected their ability to trade and receive imports. Additionally, the poverty rate in Lebanon jumped from 33% to 45%. It came mainly as a result of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the explosion. Global Aid for Lebanon raised more than $1.2 million to provide food, treatment and infrastructure aid to those impacted by the explosion.

The Weeknd’s philanthropy has benefitted many lives and helped many get the assistance they needed following unsafe conditions. While he is a quiet philanthropist, he has been instrumental in helping vulnerable people in global poverty.

– Sana Mamtaney
Photo: Flickr

Mackenzie Scott's PhilanthropyMacKenzie Scott, one of the wealthiest women in the world, inherited a 4% stake in Amazon following her divorce from Jeff Bezos in 2019. At the time, the stake held a value of $38 billion, growing to more than $60 billion today. Following her divorce, she signed onto the Giving Pledge, which U.S. investor Warren Buffett, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Melinda Gates of the Gates Foundation established, pledging to give away at least 50% of her wealth to charity or “until the safe was empty.” In contrast to other pledgers, such as Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Buffett, Scott did not wait to live up to her promises. So far, Mackenzie Scott’s philanthropy has resulted in $6 billion to 500 organizations in 2020 with a further $2.7 billion in 2021.

Vast Reach

The goal behind Mackenzie Scott’s philanthropy is to maximize her impact by donating to charities that other philanthropists often overlook. A $1.68 billion donation in 2020 went toward addressing various social issues. The largest portion ($587 million) of the donation went to racial equity, but a significant amount also went toward economic mobility ($399.5 million), global development ($130 million), functional democracy ($72 million), LGBTQ+ equity ($46 million), empathy and bridging divides ($55 billion), among other issues.

As a result, not only is Mackenzie Scott’s philanthropy generous but it also focuses on making the largest impact across a variety of social issues. In particular, in her latest donation of $2.7 billion, she emphasizes giving to more than 700 million people that live in extreme poverty across the globe. The objective was to find solutions with “on-the-ground engagement and diverse engagement.” Therefore, local teams with female leaders and people of color held priority positions.

To name a few, these organizations include Dream a Dream, GiveDirectly and Muso. Specifically, Dream a Dream focuses on empowering children from destitute backgrounds to receive an education and garner skills that will help them thrive in today’s world. GiveDirectly is a platform that provides direct cash transfers to people in need, primarily in African countries, with most people spending the aid on medicine, food, education and entrepreneurial projects. Last but not least, Muso focuses on preventing global deaths that arise from extreme poverty with frequent home visits to patients and access to care clinics. All of these organizations have different strategies on how to battle poverty and alleviate the issues that stem from it, employing diverse teams to enable more creative and effective solutions.

COVID-19 Funds

In addition to donating to poverty-related causes, the focus of Scott’s giving in 2020 was the COVID-19 pandemic. Estimates indicate that $4 billion out of the $6 billion that Scott gave away last year went directly to COVID-related causes. Scott’s donation accounts for about three-quarters of billionaire and high-net-worth individual pandemic-related philanthropy. Scott expresses that the pandemic fostered fresh inequalities in the world’s systems and that she feels compelled to do her part in improving an unjust and often unstable world. Therefore, Scott is not only staying true to her promise but has also become one of the most generous givers in recent years.

A Worthy Cause

MacKenzie Scott’s pledge to give away “until the safe was empty” represents a fresh and positive force to solve social problems that other philanthropists frequently overlook. Mackenzie Scott’s philanthropy is not only generous but also strategic with a focus on on-the-ground strategies and organizations with diverse teams to maximize the impact of her donations. Scott’s donations address racial inequality as well as global poverty and the consequent problems arising from it.

– Max Sidorovitch
Photo: Flickr

women in Asia In Asia, women are affected daily by heightened gender inequality, high instances of gender-based violence and low access to education. To combat these issues, four organizations are working diligently to improve the quality of life for Asian women. The International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW-AP), Women’s Fund Asia, U.N. Women and The Asia Foundation are all respectively working toward helping women in Asia and providing them with the resources necessary to thrive.

IWRAW Asia Pacific

Operating from Malaysia, IWRAW-AP focuses on improving feminism. The organization’s mission is to demobilize establishments that violate women’s rights. To fulfill this goal, IWRAW-AP utilizes policy advocacy, online communications, networking and feminist analysis. These methods advance women’s development across the world, including Nepal, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. IWRAW has also recently been conducting work in Africa and Europe, further widening its influence. Thus, the organization’s efforts have been impactful so far.

IWRAW-AP has administered discussions and legal training sessions with lawyers and judges in Asia for more than 300 legal actors. Additionally, IWRAW-AP held technical training sessions on gender equality. These meetings taught the standards for women’s rights organizations based on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and other human rights treaties. Through this initiative, IWRAW-AP emphasized three main strategies to enforce equality for women in Asia. By increasing recognition, knowledge of rights and teaching how to apply strategy to advocacy, the CEDAW convention holds immense power. Overall, it has trained 800 women’s rights leaders, helping to improve the lives of women in Asia.

Women’s Fund Asia

Women’s Fund Asia focuses on improving philanthropy grants. Aimed at supporting girls, women, intersex and trans people, the Women’s Fund Asia provides financial aid to fight for those in need. Moreover, the organization offers application-based grants under three programs to support women in Asia. The first is the Strengthening Feminist Movements initiative. This program provides financial assistance to minority groups in Asian countries.

The second program is called Leading from the South, which utilizes resources administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. This program assists women’s rights organizations through financial aid, primarily in South Asia. Lastly, Linking and Learning is a program that operates differently than the first two resources. The organization supplies travel grants and collaborative events grants for advocacy improvement and workshops related to women’s rights in Asia. Women’s Fund Asia has already had immense success. From 2019 to 2020, grants under Strengthening Feminist Movements amounted to $150,054.

UN Women Asia and the Pacific

Thirdly, U.N. Women is a global organization that centers around creating and maintaining gender equality in Asia. Women in Asia benefit through various focus areas, including, but not limited to, increasing leadership and political participation, furthering economic empowerment and ending gender-based violence. Prioritizing national security and promoting humanitarian action are other major goals for U.N. Women.

To tackle all of these initiatives, U.N. Women backs international political negotiations encompassing gender equality. It also supplies financial aid and knowledge to support women in Asia. Examples of these efforts include the intergovernmental forums at the U.N. In the last two years, collecting funds from the public to directly combat the effects of COVID-19 has been a major focus of the organization. This has included providing sanitary products, food and healthcare for impoverished women in South Asia.

The Asia Foundation

Lastly, The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit organization focused on the development of Asian countries, including the empowerment of women. Through various programs, the foundation makes education, entrepreneurship and employment more accessible to women in Asia. The foundation also works to supply sufficient leadership training and mentorship.

The Asia Foundation garners funds from a network of developmental agencies, corporations and individuals committed to women’s advancement. Some of the major outcomes in 2020 include implementing legal clinics in Afghanistan and a new employment program to improve women’s technological skills in Malaysia. Another success was the registration of 600 new clients to the Asia Foundation’s Women’s Business Center in Mongolia.

The Importance of Women’s Empowerment

In order to alleviate global poverty and promote gender equality in Asian countries, the efforts of these organizations are necessary for creating change. With the empowerment of feminism, more opportunities are available for women in Asia. As more women gain access to education, enter the workforce and learn essential life skills, women can earn higher incomes that will break cycles of poverty. Furthermore, improved healthcare leads to lower rates of maternal and child mortality.

According to the World Bank, these combined elements can help break the cycle of poverty. As nations become educated and empowered, countries become wealthier. As COVID-19 has impacted millions of Asian girls, initiatives and organizations such as IWRAW-AP, Women’s Fund Asia, U.N. Women and The Asia Foundation have the power to end instances of gender-based inequality. Overall, with more recognition and funding, the cycle of poverty comes closer to breaking.

– Riya Sharma
Photo: Flickr

Resilience During COVID-19 in IranJust south of the Iranian capital Tehran lies the metropolitan city of Qom. In late February, citizens in Qom became ill with COVID-19. Within weeks of the global spread, Iran became one of the first global hotspots outside East Asia, alongside Italy. The socioeconomic consequences of the pandemic created a dual crisis that threatened to exacerbate COVID-19’s impact on Iran. In 2018, the Trump Administration announced its intent to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal, following the successful negotiation of the agreement by the prior Obama White House. The unilateral U.S. withdrawal led to the reimposition of sanctions on Iran, crushing the economy and sending unemployment skyrocketing. In 2018 and 2019, the Iranian economy experienced annual contractions of more than 6%.

Against this backdrop, ordinary citizens took to the streets demanding sweeping change to the government in the biggest protests since the founding of modern Iran. The government responded with force. Hundreds of protestors were killed and the entire nation underwent a total internet blackout that lasted days.

With the country already wobbling from economic and political pressure, the pandemic hit at the worst possible time. As a result, many expected COVID-19’s impact on Iran to be outsized. Instead, the nation showed a shocking level of resilience that befuddled experts.

Economic Rebound

At first, COVID-19’s impact on Iran appeared to be nothing more than an accelerant to the generally negative undercurrents impacting the economy. A widely cited report by the Iranian Parliament Research Center foresaw a dramatic increase in poverty in 2020. By the end of the year, 57 million Iranians were expected to be below the poverty line. Moreover, as major economies across the world experienced sharp contractions, IMF analysts saw a similar fate in store for Iran. According to predictions, the Iranian economy would shed 5% of its size in 2020.

However, the opposite occurred. The Iranian economy actually expanded for the first time in years. Despite the crippling blow of U.S. sanctions and a global economic calamity, Iran posted a GDP growth of 1.5%. In many ways, this turnaround resembled a unique occurrence in China. In 2020, China also registered positive GDP growth, the only large economy to do so. But China had controlled COVID-19, whereas Iran was still struggling with its outbreak. The ability of the capital Tehran to manage its economy relatively well amid greater uncertainty was impressive.

But all was not well in Iran. Deaths from COVID-19 spiked across the country and satellite images confirmed the construction of massive buriel pits. By mid-July, almost 90,000 deaths were recorded in Iran. However, this is believed to be an underestimation. Data from the University of Washington confirms more than 200,000 excess deaths for the same period.

Vaccines Requested and Delivered

To get out of its current situation, Iran needs vaccines. In this arena too, recovery promises to be much faster than initially predicted. The refinement of COVID-19 vaccines, which was expected to take years, was released in months. The current challenge is the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. As of mid-July, only 5% of the Iranian population have received one dose of the COVID-19 jab and just 3% are fully vaccinated. But philanthropy is coming to the rescue. In the United States, a group of philanthropists is planning to send 150,000 Pfizer doses to Iran. Abroad, countries like Russia and China have promised to donate vaccines as well.

The road to normalcy will be difficult for Iran. But a strong global recovery has the potential to bring Iran to success.

– Zachary Lee
Photo: Flickr

Musicians Helping Those in Need
One can consider musicians the creators of the soundtrack of life. Through the art that musicians create, millions of people can find joy and excitement. However, their influence does not end there. Musicians have consistently played a prominent role in helping people in need around the world. From Jimi Hendrix to Nina Simone, recording artists have been pivotal in bringing awareness to numerous important issues and causes whether it be through their music or the work outside of their music. The philanthropic endeavors of musicians have provided support for countless individuals. The immeasurably popular creations of musicians provide them with opportunities to reach areas others may not be able to and extend much-needed support to the vulnerable and impoverished. Below are a few dedicated musicians helping those in need.

Madonna

People possibly know Madonna the best for her legendary pop hits and iconic fashion style. For decades, people around the world have emulated the pop star’s unforgettable looks. Her dedication to her artistry is undeniable, but another passion for the singer/performer is giving. Raising Malawi, established in 2006, focuses on orphaned and vulnerable Malawian children. Since its foundation, the nonprofit organization has built 10 schools throughout Malawi. Another notable achievement from the Raising Malawi organization is the scholarship and psychosocial program that has provided for the 20 young Malawians featured in the “I Am Because We Are” documentary film.

Madonna’s charitable efforts extend beyond her Raising Malawi organization. The year 1998 saw the beginning of The Ray of Light Foundation, named after the singer’s seventh studio album. The Ray of Light Foundation centers on supporting organizations that are dedicated to promoting peace, equal rights and education for all. The Foundation has been incredibly successful in its many efforts. In Afghanistan, the Ray of Light Foundation has assisted 133,824 patients through health clinics that the Foundation established. In addition, mobile literacy classes that the organization funded educated 335 women, and the nonprofit provided 95,542 patients with health education. With these charitable organizations, Madonna consistently proves her dedication to helping those in need.

Rihanna

Rihanna has attained astronomical success in her nearly two-decade-long career. The Barbadian pop star has attained numerous accolades and awards that have placed her in the same league with musicians far beyond her years. While these achievements are significant, they almost pale in comparison to the incredible impact of the singer/business woman’s philanthropic endeavors. Rihanna’s charitable efforts date back to 2006 with the Believe Foundation which provides financial, medical, educational and emotional support to terminally ill children. Another cause that Rihanna has lent her hand to is the fight against HIV/AIDS in multiple collaborations and campaigns with brands like MAC Cosmetics and H&M.

In 2012, Rihanna launched the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) in honor of her grandparents Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. The CLF supports and provides funding for groundbreaking global education, health and emergency response programs. CLF has made considerable contributions to various causes throughout its history. Since its foundation, CLF has raised more than $24 million and assisted in more than 100 projects. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CLF has allocated more than $36 million to help those the crisis most impacted. The Foundation has also provided immediate COVID-19 assistance to over 14 countries along with providing funds to 45 organizations. Therefore, Rihanna is an exceptional example of the tremendous influence musicians dedicated to helping those in need can have on the world.

Conclusion

Musicians have contributed to the lives of many with their musical talents. However, another area musicians have made a remarkable impact in is assisting those poverty effects. With its resources and talents, musicians can reach places others cannot. This is why the musician’s role in helping those in need is a pivotal one. Not only does it provide crucial support but it also brings awareness to important causes. The artists above are just a few of many musicians dedicated to helping those in need.

– Imani Smikle
Photo: Flickr

Billions to Charities
It is no surprise that Forbes named Charles “Chuck” Feeney the James Bond of Philanthropy. After 38 years, Feeney achieved his lifetime goal: giving away all his $8 billion amassed wealth to charity and being alive to see its impact. When someone donates billions to charities, the impact should be substantial.

Charles “Chuck” Feeney

Chuck Feeney amassed his wealth from establishing a franchise of stores within thousands of airports known as the Duty-Free Shoppers Group. He also launched the General Atlantic, an American growth equity firm. Yet, the man, with this immense fortune lives in a rented San Francisco apartment. Moreover, he has even been found riding public transit. Feeney has credited his life philosophy to the Andrew Carnegie essay, “The Gospel of Wealth.” The essay declares that the millionaire’s sole duty is to give back to the poor. As Feeney donates billions to charities, he certainly obliges. Carnegie’s influence is extremely apparent within Feeney’s life. His coined phrase and mantra in life, “Giving While Living,” is essentially saying that you should give all you can to charity now rather than later. This, which closely resembles the messages behind The Gospel of Wealth.

Atlantic Philanthropies

In the early ’80s, the Duty -Free Shoppers franchise was at its peak. This is when Feeney decided to be the one who donates billions to charities. Without anyone’s knowledge, he secretly handed over all his shares and formed his new foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies. Since 1982, the Atlantic Philanthropies has focused on issues of health, social and public policy throughout Australia, Bermuda, Ireland, South Africa, the U.S. and Vietnam. Within these countries, the foundation has addressed many important issues. Among them include facilitating the peace process in Northern Ireland, reducing the number of children without health insurance in the U.S., providing millions with HIV/AIDS medication in South Africa and helping modernize Vietnam’s health care system. While the foundation has officially dissolved recently, Feeney has one last message to relay: “To those wondering about Giving While Living: try it, you’ll like it.”

3 Countries Impacted

  1. South Africa: In the early years after Apartheid, Atlantic Philanthropies saw the opportunity to help advance South African society from its previous suppression. During the ’90s, the foundation assisted young black South African attorneys in getting their law degrees. In the 2000s, Atlantic made funds to advance nursing and health services. By the end of 2016, Atlantic Philanthropies had totaled $442 million in investments toward building democratic institutions and organizations. Overall, the foundation brought 2 million South Africans access to HIV medication. Also, it convinced the government to pledge $1 billion toward school improvements. Finally, it increased the number of nurses between 2005 and 2013 by 44%.
  2. Vietnam: The Atlantic Philanthropies have invested $381.5 million towards improving Vietnam’s public health system and renewing old libraries and universities. With Feeney’s contribution of billions to charities, Vietnam modernized its healthcare system, resulting in 9 million citizens receiving better and improved treatment. Further, the foundation focused on efforts that advocated for healthier behaviors. These included the widespread anti-smoking campaign and the passed mandate that forced motorcyclists to wear helmets. Also, in the education sector, Atlantic Philanthropies improved Vietnamese university libraries.
  3. Cuba: In the early 2000s, Cuba’s healthcare, although seen as one of the best worldwide, was suffering from a lack of resources. This, in turn, sparked the Atlantic’s activism. Overall, the foundation invested $66 million into organizations that work toward improving the care and treatment of Cubans. Moreover, these bodies spread knowledge about Cuba’s effective public health practices in nations with impoverished communities.

An Inspiring Message

Feeney’s extreme display of generosity via contributions of billions to various charities has inspired many notable philanthropists and entrepreneurs to do their part to help the less fortunate. An example of wealthy business moguls following in Feeney’s footsteps is the “Giving Pledge.” Warren Buffet and Bill Gates launched the Giving Pledge in 2010 as a campaign that seeks to persuade wealthy figures across the world to donate close to half of their wealth before they die.

Maya Falach
Photo: Flickr

Philanthropy in South KoreaThe Republic of South Korea carries one of the most uplifting stories of increased education and economic improvement. South Korea faces poverty among the elderly and an education gap between the rich and poor. Despite that, the country has launched effective policies for poverty reduction. These efforts expand beyond the scope of just South Korea. This article will cover advancements in national poverty reduction. It will focus on South Korea’s global poverty reduction and philanthropy efforts through organizations such as World Friends Korea and the Korean International Cooperation Agency.

Poverty in South Korea

South Korea has evolved tremendously in terms of poverty reduction and economic improvement. In 1945, around the end of the Japanese colonization, South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world. In the 1950s, after the Korean war, 80% of the urban population was below the poverty line. Today, South Korea’s literacy rate is 96% and its poverty rate is close to 14%. This decrease in poverty and illiteracy is largely due to extensive education policies and NGOs within Korea.

The Beautiful Foundation

In the late 1980s, democracy consolidated in South Korea. Various NGOs promoted humanitarian principles and rights, create a flow of social-political interactions and offer a voice to citizens. In 2002, estimates determined that there were 60,000 nonprofits in South Korea. While many international NGOs such as UNICEF, the Red Cross, UNDP and Planned Parenthood have had chapters and projects in South Korea, there are plenty of organizations in the nonprofit sector native to Korea. Established in 1999, Beautiful Foundation is one of the largest Korean nonprofits.

The Beautiful Foundation dedicates itself to creating an impartial society where people practice sharing by spreading wealth across society. The organization has had a great influence on philanthropy in South Korea. The 1% Sharing initiative, for example, encourages all Koreans to contribute 1% of their salary or income to any campaign or cause they believe in. These contributions are even open to individuals that do not live in Korea. The Beautiful Foundation has used these donations for disaster relief, child hunger and even social issues.

Philanthropy within Corporate Korea

South Korean corporations represent almost 40% of Korean philanthropy while the remaining 60% comes from individuals’ charity. Korean corporations such as Samsung have used social media to promote and inspire others to give through online sites. Samsung has also launched campaigns such as Samsung Hope for Children which helps children access education and medical treatment through donations of products and financial assistance.

Hyundai, another large corporation in South Korea, has launched campaigns such as the Hope on Wheels program, which helps children with cancer. Since it began its philanthropic efforts, Hyundai has given $72 million to pediatric research.

Government Role in NGOs and Philanthropy

Although these organizations are non-governmental, the government still plays a significant role. Most NGOs receive government grants. Additionally, certain government factions or ministries, such as the Korean Department of Health and Welfare, host annual conferences to bring organization leaders, government officials, corporate workers and academic scholars to discuss further development and new philanthropic strategies and ideas.

Many NGOs are also policy-oriented and must meet with government officials to achieve their goals. NGOs can campaign for a range of socio-economic issues such as income disparity and economic inequality. For instance, the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ), which is the oldest NGO in Korean history to address social welfare issues, persuaded the Korean administration in the 1990s to change housing eviction policies. It also lobbied for the construction of more homes which the government agreed to.

South Korea Gives Back to the World

South Korea has evolved from a country receiving international aid, to a flourishing economy ready to give back. The country is the world’s 12th largest economy and began its international philanthropy in the 1990s. The Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), established in 1991, distributes aid to promote economic and social development in poorer countries. Worlds Friends Korea, which is similar to the U.S. Peace Corps, has worked with KOICA to reduce poverty and provide opportunities for growth. Since 1990, World Friends Korea has sent around 50,000 volunteers and has been active in 96 countries.

South Korea has also been involved in security and reconstruction efforts in developing countries such as Afghanistan. In 2010, the Korean Province Reconstruction Team (PRT) worked to strengthen local governments, administrative competence and productivity, as well as provide support for agriculture, education and medical services in the Parwan Province.

South Korea pulled itself out of poverty through strict education policies, massive technological and economic advancements and an abundance of support from NGOs. After seeing poverty worldwide, the people of Korea honed in on the values of sharing and the long tradition of giving. South Korean philanthropy was born out of “self-actualization” and the desire to accept and help others. From giving to its own people to giving worldwide, from corporate philanthropy and NGOs to government-oriented organizations, South Korea has truly encompassed philanthropy.

– Nada Abuasi
Photo: Unsplash

soccer players practicing philanthropy
Soccer, or football players to most of the world, are most often recognized for their impressive work on the field. However, professional soccer players have a lot of potential for impactful good off the field. This, due to their status, influence and financial capabilities. Listed here are five soccer players (part of FIFA) who have a powerful impact on the lives of impoverished peoples. Importantly, their reach extends throughout the world. These are great examples of professional soccer players practicing philanthropy.

5 FIFA Soccer Players Practicing Philanthropy

  1. Lionel Messi is an Argentine footballer who plays forward and captains La Liga club, Barcelona and the Argentinian national team. In response to COVID-19, Messi has made a wide variety of contributions through his organization, The Leo Messi Foundation. He began his foundation in 2007. Its mission focuses on helping kids and teenagers using health, education and sports initiatives. Messi has donated €1 million, split between Hospital Clinic in Catalunya and a health center in Argentina. Additionally, he gave €200,000 to UNICEF projects in Kenya. As a result, more than 2,000 citizens gained access to clean water.
  2. Mohammed Salah is a winger for the English Premier League club, Liverpool and the Egyptian national team. Salah has donated thousands of tons of food and fresh meat to his hometown in Egypt, to help families who have been impacted by COVID-19. Also, Salah donated to the Bassioun General Hospital. Moreover, he (along with his father) gave land to establish a sewage treatment plant in his hometown. With this effort, he hopes to provide a stable source of clean water to the region. Furthermore, Salah has been selected as the first ambassador for the U.N. Instant Network Schools, which connects refugees and host countries’ students with online education opportunities.
  3. Sadio Mane is a forward for the English Premier League club, Liverpool. Mane is funding the construction of a hospital for the village of Bambali, Senegal, where he was born. He took inspiration to do so after losing his father to a stomach illness, with no hospital in the village available to help him. Considering Senegal’s inhabitants, 33% are below the poverty line and Mane’s contributions to schools, hospitals and mosques in his home village are helping improve the quality of life for individuals living there.
  4. Mesut Ozil is a German footballer who plays as a midfielder for the English Premier League club, Arsenal. It is reported that he has paid for more than 1,000 operations for children across the world, food for 100,000 refugees in Turkey and Syria and is an ambassador for the children’s charity — Rays of Sunshine, in England.
  5. Jermain Defoe is currently a striker for the Scottish Premiership club, Rangers. He created the Jermain Defoe Foundation in 2013 to support at-risk youth in his family’s hometown, Caribbean, St. Lucia. His foundation’s mission is to help kids who are vulnerable and in need in the U.K., the Caribbean Islands and Northern Island. His grandparents grew up in St. Lucia and his foundation has worked on several projects in St. Lucia. The foundation’s work includes the refurbishment of the Soufriere Primary School after a hurricane,  donation of shoes to the Daigen School and the financial backing of The Rainbow Children’s Home.

Good Work: On and Off the Pitch

In addition to their work on the football pitch, these soccer players practicing philanthropy are doing excellent work for humanitarian missions and initiatives.  The contributions of these soccer players in healthcare, education and nutrition are improving the lives of the individuals affected by their initiatives worldwide.

Hannah Bratton
Photo: Flickr

Increasing International PhilanthropyAs COVID-19 inspires increasing international philanthropy, trends in American and global giving create an opportunity for growth in the philanthropy sector. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that as of April 21, donor governments and multilateral organizations around the globe were responding to the coronavirus with $16.5 billion in completed international donations and aid, the biggest donors being governments, the World Bank and the Asian Development Fund.

The U.S. Philanthropic Efforts

The U.S. government had provided $2.39 billion in international aid as of April. As of August 12, Candid reported, an additional $13 billion in institutional and individual philanthropic donations had been given globally, with the biggest donations coming from Google, CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey and TikTok parent company ByteDance. The majority of funding, both philanthropic and from governments and multilateral organizations, have gone to disaster relief. COVID-19 is increasing international philanthropy efforts around the globe, and that trend has proven true of U.S.-based institutional and individual giving.

“To put this unprecedented commitment of institutional and individual philanthropy in perspective, the U.S. total alone of more than $6 billion is, according to Candid’s figures, more than double the entire campaigns for 9/11, the 2008 financial crisis, Hurricane Harvey, the Ebola outbreak, the Haitian earthquake, and the recent Australian bushfires,” Andrew Grabois wrote in a blog for Candid.

COVID-19’s Impact on Donor Giving

A recent Fidelity Charitable study found that 79% of donors plan to either maintain or increase their existing levels of giving. 31% of donors will be giving money to international organizations as part of their COVID-19 philanthropy, following a significant decrease in donations to international charities in 2017. International affairs nonprofits, on the other hand, have consistently been steadily increasing. 69% of donors said they are “very” or “somewhat concerned” about how international aid organizations will suffer during the pandemic. 30% of donors say they are donating “to address the economic impacts” of COVID-19.

Betsy Morris of The Wall Street Journal reported that as coronavirus related philanthropy skyrockets, nonprofits unrelated to coronavirus relief have seen significant declines in donations and volunteer activity; 80% of nonprofits surveyed in June said that revenue had fallen since the pandemic started, and 70% had been forced to reduced their activity level. Donations to U.S. charities saw an 11% decline in March, and the outlook remains bleak as the pandemic continues; 72% of donors do not “expect their giving to return to prior levels.”

Shifting Philanthropic Sector

But the pandemic has also caused significant shifts in the philanthropy sector that could help pave the way to recovery; consulting company Mckinsey & Company explained that large-scale donations are also happening “at record speed, with fewer conditions, and in greater collaboration with others,” all of which can and should be long-term shifts in the philanthropy sector.

Donor institutions are addressing three main areas to address short- and long-term philanthropy challenges by adjusting grant practices to be easier and more accessible for grantees, increasing the “pace and volume” of philanthropic giving, scaling impact with partnerships and collaboration between individual and institutional donors, investment in grassroots and local leadership and providing support to the public sector. All these shifts will allow for this increasing international philanthropy and a more effective sector long after the pandemic has waned.

Emily Rahhal
Photo: Flickr

Girls' Education in the DRC
Congolese-Cypriot model Noëlla Coursaris Musunka is not just an international, fashion superstar. In addition to her successful modeling career, her charity Malaika is changing the lives of young girls and women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Through her philanthropy, Coursaris Musunka aims to empower and thus, help improve girls’ education in the DRC, so they can have the most opportunities for future success.

Noëlla Coursaris Musunka

After Coursaris Musunka’s father died when she was young, her mother sent her to live with relatives in Belgium and Switzerland so that she could have a stable education. Though Coursaris Musunka succeeded academically and completed a degree in Business Management, she had little contact with her mother back home in the DRC. Their communication at that time consisted mainly of occasional letters or phone calls. As Coursaris Musunka herself said, “When you have nothing, you know that if you fall there’s no one to pick you up. So you have to stand. I resolved very early on that I would study and work and be independent.”

Realizing that many girls back home did not have access to education, she decided to start a charity to help girls’ education in the DRC. Coursaris Musunka, inspired by her own experiences and the lack of opportunity she witnessed at home, began this endeavor.

Malaika Foundation

Malaika Foundation (named after the Swahili word for “angel”) is a grassroots organization working to improve girls’ education in the DRC. Coursaris Musunka acts as the charity’s president and founder.

According to Coursaris Musunka’s personal website, Malaika “empowers Congolese girls and their communities through education and health programs.” The Malaika School currently educates more than three hundred young girls with a rigorous syllabus. Notably, 100% of students have passed their year six exams since 2017. Additionally, Malaika has created 20 wells in the DRC to supply residents with drinking water. Moreover, she founded a community center that “provides education, health and sports programmes to over 5,000 youths and adults per year.”

The Malaika School in Kalebuka

Currently in its ninth year of operation, the Malaika School (located in Kalebuka) advances girls’ education in the DRC at no cost to its hundreds of students. Also, the institution serves both primary and secondary school-aged children. The school educates students on a variety of topics, including multiple languages, STEM fields and the arts. Malaika particularly emphasizes the importance of leadership to teach girls to strive for success. The school also commits itself to sustainability — providing students with breakfast and lunch every day. Importantly, these meals include fruits and vegetables, grown in the school’s own garden. Additionally, the school is “100% powered by solar energy.” After graduation, Malaika matches students with internships while other students choose to continue their education at universities or specialized colleges.

A Model Beyond Fashion

Coursaris Musunka continues to invest her free time into the charity she founded. “My message to every child,” she says, “to every young girl, is this: take your opportunity, go to school. Educate yourself. Become pioneers of education and pioneers of Africa and the world.” Coursaris Musunka is a model in the world of fashion, female leadership and educational, charity initiatives. Inspirational and influential figures such as Coursaris Musunka are doing important work in the advancement of education, especially for young girls.

Jackie McMahon
Photo: Flickr