Cotopaxi Foundation
The Cotopaxi llama, featured on backpacks, jackets and beanies, has come to stand for more than just a brand; it is also an ideal. Cotopaxi, named after an Ecuadorian volcano, is a Utah based company that produces gear, whether that is hiking gear or clothing. Cotopaxi equips customers to face their environment. However, Cotopaxi’s impact extends far past gear. Its company regards ethical production, sustainability and humanitarian efforts as pillars of its business model. Cotopaxi sends a message with its products for people to “Do Good” through its products and the Cotopaxi Foundation.

What Sustainability Means to Cotopaxi

Angie Agle is Cotopaxi’s Director of Impact and Community Marketing. In an interview with The Borgen Project, she defined sustainability as “operating in a way that will allow future generations the resources they need to secure happy and complete futures.”

Cotopaxi pushes a conscientious business model that limits its environmental impact. It exclusively uses materials with a design to limit waste, such as its signature llama fleece or recycled fabrics. These recycled fabrics mesh together to make each product unique. The results are backpacks or coats with bright colors that stand out in any crowd.

A rip or tear in a Cotopaxi product does not mark the end of its use. Instead of encouraging customers to replace older products with new purchases, Cotopaxi implements a repairs program. The damaged item is fixed and then either resold or donated. Any profits go to the Cotopaxi Foundation. The repairs program allows materials to stay useful and significantly reduces company carbon emissions.

Sustainability, per Cotopaxi’s definition, is consideration for the future. It is not limited to environmental issues but encompasses any and all efforts to help upcoming generations. Cotopaxi’s humanitarian efforts, for example, demonstrate a second way to be “sustainable.”

The Cotopaxi Foundation

Davis Smith, CEO and co-founder of Cotopaxi, cites his childhood as the inspiration behind his company’s philanthropic purpose. Before moving to Utah, he grew up in South America witnessing firsthand how poverty can affect a community. He told Deseret News, “The people I saw every day were just as smart as me, just as hardworking and just as ambitious, but had no opportunity.” He set out to address global poverty in his own unique way; through gear. Five years after Smith founded Cotopaxi, he created an adjacent foundation called the Cotopaxi Foundation to combine giving with hiking.

Cotopaxi allocates 1% of its funds to the Cotopaxi Foundation, which then distributes those funds among carefully selected grantees, meaning that a portion of every consumer purchase goes toward doing good. Cotopaxi’s grantees cover a wide array of well-deserving causes. These include:

  1. International Rescue Committee: Cotopaxi partners with the IRC to help refugees displaced from their home countries. Due to Cotopaxi’s location, its work with IRC generally focuses on the Salt Lake area, holding educational events and contributing to the Cotopaxi Refugee Scholarship Program. To go even further, Cotopaxi connects with refugees through the IRC to offer them employment. This idea originated with Cotopaxi’s long-held tradition of writing thank you cards to customers. As the company grew, thank you cards became an unmanageable task for the existing employees. Smith turned to refugees in need of employment to fulfill the card writing task and has not looked back. The card-writing program through the IRC now includes resume help, interview training and coding instructions to facilitate further employment opportunities.
  2. Fundación Escuela Nueva: FEN is working to address educational inequities around the world. It firmly believes in the power of education to give confidence and hope to an individual and community, fighting to make sure everyone has access to those benefits. With Cotopaxi’s help, it has successfully provided education to over 45,400 children around the world.
  3. UN Foundation-Nothing but Nets: Nothing but Nets is making a big impact with a simple solution. Bed nets protect people from mosquitos while they sleep and have saved millions of lives from malaria. Cotopaxi works with Nothing but Nets to expand its organization to include more Latin American countries and save more lives.
  4. Mercy Corps: Mercy Corps’ impact extends all over the world. However, Cotopaxi’s work with the Mercy Corp centers in Columbia and Venezuela, again paying homage to Cotopaxi’s Latin American roots and namesake. Its partnerships provide Columbian and Venezuelan refugees with assistance ranging from money to medicine.
  5. Utah Refugee Services: Cotopaxi works with Utah Refugees Services to help acclimate refugees to their new environment. Cotopaxi also takes crucial steps to make refugees feel at home and find work. It regularly employs refugees through its repairs program in order to welcome refugees to the community.

The Cotopaxi Foundation allows Cotopaxi to have a two-part function: gear and good or “gear for good” as it puts it. Its donating process, being revenue-based, is special because it creates customer involvement. In fact, the buying of a hiking backpack initiates the purchaser into the giving process. This involvement does not simply make the customer temporarily satisfied with themselves, but it also sets the example of giving back and inspires further change.

Ismael: A Life Touched by Good

Ismael arrived in Utah after fleeing his home country of Uganda and spending two years in a Kenyan refugee camp. His new home offered a new set of challenges as he adjusted to the newness of everything. However, Cotopaxi met him with support, offering him a position as a thank you card writer while he looked for a more long-term occupation.

Ismeal now works as a supervisor over multiple Paradies Lagardère–owned stores. In regards to the help he received from Cotopaxi and its IRC partners, Ismael said that “They showed love for refugees … I was so amazed. Without them, it would be very hard because you know nothing.”

His story is one of many. Cotopaxi continues in its mission to leave the world better than it found it. It sustainably produces gear that hikers trust and give back to their community through the Cotopaxi Foundation. Every backpack or tent with the Cotopaxi llama emblem is inspiring change and doing good.

Abigail Gray
Photo: Flickr

malaria in haiti
According to UNICEF, some of the main causes of death in Haiti are diarrhea, respiratory infections, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria. Among the Caribbean Islands and Central American countries, Haiti has the highest number of malaria cases. Malaria is a major public health concern, but there are efforts and progress to reduce cases of malaria in Haiti.

Malaria in Haiti

Malaria is a life-threatening disease that spreads by a female mosquito carrying a fatal parasite. In 2014, The Service de Suivi et d’Evaluation of the Programme National de Controle de la Malaria (PNCM) reported 17,094 cases of malaria. Five percent of children under the age of 5 who contract the disease receive treatment. The 2010 earthquake, the most destructive earthquake in Haitian history, destroyed health care and laboratory facilities. Therefore, the earthquake raised complications to eliminate malaria. According to the Malaria Journal, infections are the cause and result of poverty in Haiti.

Malaria Zero

In the past 10 years, Hispaniola has made efforts to eradicate malaria. In the Dominican Republic, reports state that cases of malaria reached a 15 year low. Nonetheless, one-third of the cases of malaria came straight from Haiti. Therefore, controlling malaria in Haiti will prevent it from spreading to other areas.

Malaria Zero is a group of organizations working together to eliminate malaria by 2020. In this organization, partners work on running operational research and locating areas of high transmission and risk. The organization has refined malaria surveillance systems to track every malaria case, make sure all malaria cases receive a diagnosis, limit the ability of mosquitoes to transfer the disease and educate and mobilize people to get tests and treatment.

So far, the organization has managed to attain two global fund grants of $38 million for Haiti, finalize the monitoring plan on tracing National Malaria Control Program’s progress for elimination, update malaria risk maps with new data and cross border surveillance across Hispaniola. It has also completed four operational research studies and developed new laboratory methods to identify hotspots within serology and novel ultra-sensitive tests to find malaria infections.

In addition, over 130 community members walked several miles across rocky land to offer anti-malaria medication to more than 36,000 people.

Nothing but Nets

Nothing but Nets is a worldwide campaign that raises awareness and funds to fight malaria. This organization raises funds to distribute insecticidal bed nets that protect families from malaria-carrying mosquitos as they sleep. In addition, the organization also offers household spraying, malaria treatment and training of health care workers.

Overall, eliminating malaria will help improve Haiti’s health system, stimulate financial growth and increase economic levels for people living on the island. Organizations and political leaders must focus on tackling the issue to completely get rid of the disease. Many Haitians still battle the illness, but the progress in reducing malaria in Haiti means hope for the future.

– Merna Ibrahim
Photo: Flickr

Top Malaria Nonprofits
Malaria is the most deadly disease facing the world’s poor today. In 2016, roughly 445,000 people died due to malaria, and the illness still remains in 91 countries and threatens half of the world’s population. The fight against malaria is far from over, and many nonprofits are still working on achieving a world without malaria. Here are five of the top malaria nonprofits to be aware. 

Malaria No More  

Malaria No More (MNM) launched in 2006 alongside the President’s Malaria Initiative. The goal of the organization is to create “a world where no one dies from a mosquito bite.” MNM aims to end malaria by mobilizing advocates and securing funding to combat malaria. Their work focuses on three countries, including Kenya.

MNM started work in Kenya in 2014, and their work’s focus is to protect pregnant women and babies who are both at a higher risk for contracting malaria than any other populations. In Kenya, MNM partners with several other nonprofits to make malaria a top political priority. MNM also spreads awareness about malaria through meetings with politicians and events with celebrities.

As a result of MNM’s work, roughly 1,800 mothers and pregnant women received mosquito nets, two Kenyan counties increased funding for malaria elimination and millions of people received information on malaria treatment and prevention via radio.

The International Committee of the Red Cross

Another one of the many nonprofits combating malaria is the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Since its inception in 1863, the goal of ICRC is to assist victims of war and poverty. Since malaria threatens so many impoverished nations, the organization aids in combating malaria.

The ICRC also focuses on encouraging and assisting communities to band together and fight malaria. In 2008, the organization and its partners distributed 60,000 nets to Burkina Faso and helped educate its people on the importance of nets and how to hang them properly.

The President’s Malaria Initiative

The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) started in 2006 with the goal of reducing the malaria death rate by 50 percent. The PMI offers several services to the people of sub-Saharan Africa, including insecticide-treated nets, indoor residual spraying, intermittent preventative treatments for pregnant women, and seasonal chemoprevention treatments.

Since the formation of the PMI, more than 5 million houses received an indoor residual spraying, which protects more than 20 million people. The PMI also distributed 40 million treated nets. Overall, the malaria rate in sub-Saharan Africa dropped 54 percent in the past 17 years.

The World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) is one of the many nonprofits combating malaria. Founded in 1948, WHO oversees international health through the United Nations and aims to improve health systems and respond to health crises all over the world. Their oversight and work includex fighting to eradicate malaria.

In 2015, the E-2020 plan, which aims to eliminate malaria in 21 countries by 2020, began. WHO is one of several supporters of this initiative and works with 21 countries to reach the elimination of malaria.

Comoros is one of the countries that WHO works with. In 2014, the number of reported indigenous malaria cases reached 53,000; in 2016, that number fell to 1,066. This decrease was the result of a treatment campaign, indoor spraying and the delivery of insecticide-treated nets by WHO.

Nothing But Nets 

Nothing but Nets supplies nets to areas that are vulnerable to malaria. The organization also raises awareness about malaria and mobilizes citizens to take action by contacting their representative or starting a fundraising campaign.

Nothing but Nets raised $65 million for 12 million mosquito nets to be sent to families all over the world. Most of these nets go to sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria is most common and deadly. In 2000, only two percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa owned mosquito nets; in 2017, 53 percent of people in sub-Saharan Africa possessed a net.

As you can see, these top malaria nonprofits have made it their mission to put a stop to this disease sooner rather than later.

–  Drew Garbe

Photo: Flickr

Millennium Development Goal
Looking to gain some good karma? A Millennium development goal can address many issues ranging from health to HIV/AIDS. This list recommends one great way to support each of the latter four Millennium Development Goals. All charities listed have a score of 96 or higher on Charity Navigator. To see part one of this article, please click here.

Millennium Development Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health

Where to donate: Direct Relief

Women in low-income countries are at a startling disadvantage when it comes to maternal health. Worldwide, a woman dies from complications during pregnancy or childbirth every two minutes. Even more shocking is the fact that 90 percent of these women die from preventable conditions.

One of Direct Relief’s chief programs works to improve the health of mothers in impoverished countries. The organization’s health services train and equip midwives, provide emergency obstetric care and treat birth-related injuries.

Charity Navigator recently ranked Direct Relief at the top of its “10 of the Best Charities Everyone’s Heard Of” list. When donating to Direct Relief, you can choose to either direct your gift specifically to their Maternal and Child Health programs or let the organization use the money where it is most needed.

Millennium Development Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases

Where to donate: United Nations Foundation Nothing But Nets

Malaria, a disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes, kills over 600,000 people every year. In sub-Saharan Africa, malaria is the leading killer of children; one child dies from the disease every 60 seconds.

In 2006, Rick Reilly published an article in Sports Illustrated challenging his readers to donate to the fight against malaria. His column inspired the creation of Nothing But Nets, which in the past nine years has worked with hundreds of thousands of individuals to distribute bed nets throughout Africa. The organization has also partnered with some big names, including the World Health Organization, the National Basketball Association’s NBA Cares and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The idea behind Nothing But Nets is simple: when bed nets keep out mosquitoes, fewer people are infected with malaria. The insecticide-treated nets also kill mosquitoes, which helps slow the spread of the disease. This life-saving strategy is also relatively cheap; it costs only $10 to send a net to a family in sub-Saharan Africa.

Millennium Development Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability

Where to donate: Global Greengrants Fund

Want an organization that works to promote sustainability and social justice? Since 1993, Global Greengrants has provided worthy communities with grants to help them face environmental and social challenges. According to the organization’s website, “Global Greengrants believes local people know best how to address the environmental issues impacting their own lives.”

The Global Greengrants Fund supports over 5,300 projects in 163 countries. Before giving a grant, the organization’s team of Grant Advisors carefully reviews which projects will receive funding. Once chosen, grant recipients use the money to combat issues such as fresh water shortages, biodiversity loss and land rights violations. Women in Ghana, for example, used a Greengrant to prevent a mining company from destroying their freshwater spring. Community members in Indonesia used their Greengrant to keep palm-oil companies from illegally clear-cutting local rainforests.

Millennium Development Goal 8: Global Partnership for Development

What to donate: Your time!

Millennium Development Goal 8 is especially complex. It calls for fairer trade practices, better debt relief services, affordable access to pharmaceutical drugs and new technologies and increased aid for the world’s poorest countries. While all these targets may seem overwhelming, you can advocate to make your support for them heard.

Time can be just as valuable a donation as money. Call or email your Congressional representatives and ask them to support bills such as the Food for Peace Reform Act of 2015. The act would allow U.S. global food aid to reach over eight million more people while saving an estimated $440 million.

Another important bill to support is the Electrify Africa Act, which addresses the target of MDG 8 that calls for increased availability of technology in developing regions. The bill was passed by the House in 2014 but never made it through the Senate. Show your Congressional leaders that the Millenium Development Goal like this matter to you by making a 30-second phone call.

– Caitlin Harrison

To see part one of this article, please click here.

Sources: Direct Relief, Nothing But Nets, Global Greengrants Fund, The Borgen Project
Photo: Flickr

shot@Life Provides Vaccinations for Impoverished Nations - BORGEN
The United Nations Foundation Shot@Life aims to give everyone the shot they need to live a happy and healthy life.

The Shot@Life campaign is almost exactly like it sounds. This campaign works with volunteers to provide much needed vaccinations to the extremely impoverished nations of the world through advocacy and donations.

Shot@Life educates, connects and empowers the American people to support vaccines, and vaccinations are one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries.

The campaign is basically a national call to action for a worthy global cause. The foundation rallies the American public and members of Congress to help them understand the fact that together they can save a child’s life every 20 seconds just by expanding access to vaccines.

The global foundation encourages the American public to learn about, advocate for and donate to provide vaccines. Shot@Life aims to noticeably decrease vaccine-preventable childhood deaths and give every child a shot at a healthy life within the next 10 years.

This campaign began in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by philanthropist Ted Turner. The Shot@Life campaign was created in order to build upon the U.N. Foundation’s 13-year legacy in global vaccine efforts as a leading partner in the Measles Initiative and Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

The Shot@Life campaign draws on their core abilities through advocacy, community-building and communications in order to raise awareness for their cause.

There are a few causes in which they already have seen excellent success: the campaigns Nothing But Nets and Girl Up.

The Nothing But Nets campaign is dedicated to providing insecticide treated mosquito nets to impoverished peoples in order to prevent the spread of malaria from mosquito bites.

The Girl Up campaign was started in order to provide aid to young girls in poverty-laden nations. This campaign utilizes the help of teenage leaders in order to raise awareness about how young girls are being treated around the world.

Shot@Life is also partnered with some of the largest names in fundraising, nonprofits and charities. They have received partnerships from UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Lions Club, to name a few.

This U.N. Foundation is uniquely positioned with in-house expertise and leadership to successfully bring Shot@Life to the awareness of an American audience.

The nonprofit also utilizes social media in participation with news companies and webpages to give a portion of its advertising revenue on each company’s behalf for each like or share an article or blog post receives.

Providing vaccinations to the world’s poor is another huge step in the process to end global poverty. Getting vaccinations mean children will not die from diseases that are preventable such as smallpox, measles, polio and tuberculosis.

More children living into adulthood could potentially slow the birthrates and stabilize the life-expectancy of the people living in African nations as well as extremely impoverished parts of India.

The Shot@Life campaign is dedicated to providing peace of mind to all the nations of the world.

– Cara Morgan

Sources: CDC, GirlUp, HuffPost 1, HufFPost 2, NothingButNets, Shot@Life
Photo: Children’s Futures

Although malaria prevention has long been a focus of the United Nations Foundation, it was an article in Sports Illustrated that spurred the creation of its successful Nothing but Nets program, now the world’s largest grassroots campaign to end malaria.

In 2006, Rick Reilly wrote a column that challenged readers of the popular sports magazine to donate at least ten dollars to the United Nations Foundation to cover the purchase, distribution, and education costs of a life-saving malaria bed net. The response to this simple call to action was huge, and Nothing but Nets was born.

Nothing but Nets is a program that focuses on distributing long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed nets to save lives in sub-Saharan Africa, where 90 percent of all malaria deaths occur. The number of people affected by this preventable disease is truly staggering—every second, there are ten new cases of malaria. Every 60 seconds, a child in Africa dies from the disease. The disease disproportionately affects those who cannot afford treatment and those who have limited access to health care.

In addition to the costs to human health, malaria is responsible for about $12 billion annually in lost productivity in Africa. The disease increases school and work absenteeism, decreases tourism, inhibits foreign investment, and affects crop production. Malaria is a costly disease that accounts for up to 40% of public health expenditures, 30-50% of inpatient hospital admissions, up to 60% of outpatient health clinic visits.

Malaria, though devastating and deadly, is a highly preventable disease—the UN found that in high coverage areas, the disease can be reduced by 90 percent—with simple solutions. And, as reflected in the World Health Organization’s 2012 World Malaria report, those solutions are working. A few years ago, malaria was the number one cause of death among African refugees. Nothing but Nets worked closely with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to distribute more than a million nets to this group. Now, malaria is the fifth leading cause of death among African refugees. Since 2006, Nothing but Nets has raised $45 million and distributed more than seven million bed nets to families in need. While these statistics reflect huge progress, there is still much more to be done.

The good news is, it is easy to get involved and start saving lives. Nothing but Nets is unique in that it provides the opportunity for anyone with ten dollars—from CEOs to students—a chance to join “Team Bzzzkill” and make a huge difference. This simple, straightforward approach has won the support of many individuals and organizations, ranging from NBA Cares and The People of the United Methodist Church, to Bill and Melinda Gates, to famous athletes and rock bands. Thousands have stepped up to Reilly’s challenge to donate a net and save a life. Will you?

Visit to learn more and donate a net to save a life.

Sarah Morrison
Sources: Nothing But Nets, Sports Illustrated

The United Nations Foundation is a partner of the United Nations, though it is not directly involved in achieving the UN’s goals on the ground. It was started after multimillionaire philanthropist Ted Turner donated $1 billion as a show of his support for the UN’s objectives. Primarily a funding body, the foundation was established in 1998 –- long after the UN’s 1945 inauguration –- to ensure governments adhere to the commitments they have made to the UN and to secure funding for UN projects worldwide. Additionally, the UN foundation works to connect other organizations, individuals, and businesses in partnership with the UN.

The UN Foundation recognizes the role enterprise has to play in development. Accordingly, it has formed 300 partnerships and garnered over $2 billion in direct aid for UN projects. Examples of the Foundation’s work include partnerships with Vodafone to assist in capitalizing on the spread of technology as an aid to development efforts, with Expedia to protect and increase education about World Heritage Sites, and with multiple US corporations, such as Orkin, Hewlett-Packard and United Airlines, to support the Nothing but Nets campaign which provides mosquito nets in malaria prone regions.

The UN Foundation’s work is particularly important as one of the notorious pitfalls of development projects is the disconnect among organizations working on the same issue. The approach of disparate entities working separately on the same issue breeds inefficiency. Without coordinating past and current efforts, institutions often use the same flawed approaches, compete for resources, and waste energy on unnecessary projects. The Foundation’s work streamlines efforts, capabilities and resources to create a single, coordinated powerhouse initiative on a given project, which has the potential to produce far better results.

Though the UN Foundation is not itself an intervening body, its services have proven invaluable to the continuing efforts of the United Nations in alleviating poverty and instituting programs for sustainable development worldwide.

– Farahnaz Mohammed

Sources: UN Business, UN Foundation
Photo: UN Women Flickr