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Cryptocurrency and Poverty Reduction
An increasing number of nonprofit organizations are looking to cryptocurrency to help reduce global poverty. The immediacy, inclusivity and stability that cryptocurrency promotes could be invaluable for those who are in crisis, lack access to a bank or struggle due to hyperinflation. Here are four examples of how cryptocurrency and poverty reduction are coming together:

GiveCrypto

GiveCrypto is a nonprofit organization that links cryptocurrency and global poverty reduction. Since founding members currently cover operating fees, 100 percent of the funds GiveCrypto accumulates goes to the recipients. While Bitcoin is the most recognized cryptocurrency GiveCrypto uses, this nonprofit also transfers money through Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum, XRP and Zcash. GiveCrypto emerged on June 20, 2018, and has raised $4 million so far. The founders hope that GiveCrypto will improve the well-being of individual people struggling in their communities. However, they also intend for GiveCrypto to build up the economies of these communities. For this reason, the ultimate goal of the organization is “to help spark economic growth by giving access to property rights and financial services on an open network.”

CareBit

The founders of CareBit specifically designed the CARE coin for charity purposes. Unlike GiveCrypto which is merely a platform to distribute several different types of cryptocurrency to those living in poverty or financial crisis, CareBit is its own cryptocurrency. The purpose of creating the CARE coin is to link cryptocurrency and poverty reduction more directly. Currently, CareBit is the only independent charity on blockchain, a technology that documents and decentralizes transactions. By directly implementing a charity model into blockchain, CareBit is able to trace transactions to ensure that 100 percent of each donation reaches its intended recipient. The ultimate goal for CareBit is to increase transparency and to decrease fees, corruption and fraud in any given transaction.

BitGive

BitGive emerged in 2013 and is Bitcoin’s first nonprofit charity. BitGive partners with international relief organizations and local charities such as The Water Project, Medic Mobile and Save the Children. Just like CareBit, BitGive implements its charity directly into blockchain in order to effectively track donations and increase its efficiency. Additionally, BitGive uses the blockchain technology GiveTrack to publicly track financial information and share this information in real-time. With GiveTrack, donors can track funds and ensure donations reach their final destination. The other benefit of BitGive is that processing fees are considerably less. On average, 3.61 percent of donations go towards processing fees for the average nonprofit. On the other hand, BitGive spends less than one percent of donations on fees.

Binance Charity Foundation

The Binance Charity Foundation (BCF) is the philanthropic extension of Binance Exchange. BCF uses Binance Coin to integrate cryptocurrency and poverty reduction. In contrast to the nonprofits mentioned above which focus on financial poverty reduction, BCF specifically focuses on improving the overall health of women in developing countries. For instance, BCF has recently partnered with 46 other organizations to provide a one-year supply of sanitary products to approximately one million women. Women will receive these sanitary products by using the Pink Care Token (PCAT), a redemption-only token on the Binance blockchain.

Uniting cryptocurrency and poverty reduction initiatives demonstrates the increasing demand for improved donating systems in response to a lack of trust in how charities spend their funds. Thus, the increased transparency that cryptocurrency offers through blockchain’s traceability feature could potentially reassure donors and encourage them to donate. Whether or not cryptocurrencies will become influential enough to directly strengthen the economies of the developing world, however, is still unclear.

– Ariana Howard
Photo: Unsplash

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

 

donated bicyclesBicycles are essential to communities in developing countries. A bicycle provides an advanced mobility that allows for heavier loads, faster trips, less wear and tear on the body and, happily, the chance for recreation. A person’s day will include more accomplishments in less time.

Bicycles mean productivity. And donated bicycles mean opportunity.

Getting the Donated Bicycles

Entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations alike have become forces in mobilizing citizens with donated bicycles. Mike’s Bikes, a California-based bike shop, partners with other area businesses and organizes bike drives to fill shipping containers full of used bicycles and spare parts. Like Mike’s Bikes, Bicycles for Humanity ships bikes and parts in containers, and both organizations outfit the containers so they can become bike shops for the village in which they land. Bicycles for Humanity even refers to their containers as Bicycle Empowerment Centers.

World Bicycle Relief produces new bicycles, known as Buffalo Bikes, through monetary donations. They are built specifically for the rugged conditions of the particular region, with puncture-proof tires and a heftier frame for carrying more cargo. Bicycles Change Lives also produces new bicycles, naming its program Qhubeka, a Nguni word that means, “to progress,” or, “to move forward.”

Creating Jobs

Bikes for the World also ships donated bicycles and parts in large containers. The organization focuses on Africa, Central America and the South Pacific, and works with partners like the Village Bicycle Project in Ghana and Sierra Leone and the Madagascar Community-Based Integrated Health Project (MAHEFA) in Madagascar.

In El Salvador, the Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technology (CESTA) has built up an impressive bike shop, and an equally impressive program for training at-risk youth to work in it through the reconditioning, repair and maintenance of bikes. CESTA runs EcoBici, the training program aimed at helping young people build skills and stay out of gangs.

Donated bicycles are so vital that, as the youths learn to eventually manage their own shops, they find themselves at the center of their community with positive engagement and interaction. For people of all ages, the village bike shop has become an integral component in developing countries as a productive hub for societal and industrial activity.

Healthcare Workers and Their Patients

Remarkably, bicycle transportation improves health in rural areas, and not just for the rider. Amid the health crises in regions of Africa, trained healthcare workers and volunteers do all they can to visit patients in their homes and in hospitals, but are often traveling on foot.

In Zambia, one community volunteer, Royce, works to help citizens of her village by testing their HIV/AIDS status and educating them on prevention and treatment. Before she received her bike, she would walk seven kilometers each day to visit three patients. Now, thanks to World Bicycle Relief, she travels on two wheels and visits 18 patients, including vulnerable children, in a single day. “I’m always happy when I ride my bike,” says Royce. “People in my community recognize me.  They say, ‘There goes our caregiver on her bike.’”

Elsewhere in Zambia, three healthcare volunteers, Gertrude, Robert and Francis, who work to prevent and treat malaria in their region, enjoy a similar experience when they are recognized on their bright orange Buffalo bikes, painted so for the 1500 health workers in the area.  “When they see the bikes,” says Robert, “they know we have come to fight malaria.”

Statistics at World Bicycle Relief show that the over 138,000 Buffalo Bike-mobilized healthcare workers can reach 45 percent more patients and travel four times further than was possible on foot.

Education and Empowering Girls

The greatest challenge for most children wanting to attend school in developing countries is simply getting there. World Bicycle Relief statistics point out that the attendance of a student with a bicycle increases up to 28 percent, while their academic performance increases up to a dramatic 59 percent. And for girls, completing their education means they are six times less likely to become child brides.

For one 15-year-old girl, Ethel, a two-hour trek to school across rough terrain is now a 45-minute bike ride. Being on time helped her become a confident and exemplary student. Ethel even began using her bicycle to transport fellow classmates to school.

Education is key for the progressing dimensions of developing nations, including breaking the cycle of poverty. From 2009 to 2016, over 126,000 students have received Buffalo Bikes through World Bicycle Relief.

The advantage of mobilization by donated bicycles for workers, healthcare volunteers and students is tremendous. It also reaches farmers and small business operators who can travel greater distances with more wares to sell. It reaches citizens like businessman Ernest in Ghana, who gets his work done earlier in the day and can now coach a local youth soccer team in the time he’s saved. It reaches 14-year-old Koketso, who says there is now a cycling club at her school and that she’d like to take cycling up as a sport.

“With my bicycle,” Koketso says, “I can visit a lot of places that I have never seen before.”

– Jaymie Greenway

Photo: Flickr

 

Donate to Fight Poverty

 


At the end of May 2017, 14 of the richest people in the world joined a coalition of like-minded individuals in the Giving Pledge, an organization dedicated to providing a large portion of their fortunes to philanthropic endeavors.
The Giving Pledge was created by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett in 2010. It strives to offer encouragement to the world’s wealthiest to provide aid to causes that address the greatest issues society faces today.

With the addition of these 14 individuals, the Giving Pledge now has 168 signatories spanning 21 different countries who have committed their wealth. They are committed to being a multinational and multigenerational organization (with members ranging in age from 31 to 93) that spans both distance and time in order to promote philanthropic goals.

 

This new group of initiates joins the Giving Pledge from diverse regions around the globe including Tanzania, Cyprus, Australia, Slovenia, China and the United States. Though these individuals come from all corners of the world, their ultimate drive of providing aid to those in need gives them a common goal.

“Philanthropy is different around the world, but almost every culture has a long-standing tradition of giving back,” Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said.

The 14 new individuals that have dedicated themselves to the Giving Pledge are:

  • Leonard H. Ainsworth – Australia
  • Mohammed Dewji – Tanzania
  • Dagmar Dolby – United States
  • DONG Fangjun – People’s Republic of China
  • Anne Grete Eidsvig and Kjell Inge Rokke – Norway
  • Sir Stelios Haji-Loanno – Monaco, Cyprus
  • Nick and Leslie Hanauer – United States
  • Iza and Samo Login – Slovenia
  • Dean and Marianne Metopoulos – United States
  • Terry and Susan Ragon – United States
  • Nat Simmons and Laura Baxter-Simons – United States
  • Robert Fredrick Smith – United States
  • Harry H. Stine – United States
  • You Zhonghui – People’s Republic of China

“Bill and Warren and I are excited to welcome the new, very international group of philanthropists joining the Giving Pledge, and look forward to learning from their diverse experiences,” Melinda Gates said.

These new members will join other notable individuals, including Michael R. Bloomberg (founder and CEO of Bloomberg LC), Richard Branson (Virgin and its subsidiaries) and George Lucas (director and creator of Star Wars), in their philanthropic endeavors.

Signatories of the Giving Pledge meet throughout the year to discuss philanthropic strategies, successes and failures. The group does not require members to participate in any particular cause.

Drew Hazzard

Photo: Flickr

Charity Law
China is now home to more billionaires than the United States and has experienced an annual economic growth rate of seven percent since 2010. Despite this, the country is still ranked second to last in a list of 145 most charitable countries, according to the 2015 U.K.-based Charities Aid Foundation’s World Giving Index.

However, China’s new Charity Law seeks to promote a model for greater domestic charitable giving within the country.

The law will also prospectively support the country’s sustainability in disaster relief, environmental protection, public health and anti-poverty efforts to lift rural residents out of poverty by 2020.

As of 2015, 55.75 million of China’s rural residents were still considered impoverished.

What will China’s new Charity Law assist?

While China’s annual donations to charities have soared from 10 billion to 100 billion yuan in the last ten years, growth has remained stagnant within the last five years paradoxically alongside economic prosperity.

According to the Boston Globe, the China Philanthropy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center identified three reasons.

First, giving in China remains localized and focused on a single cause — six out of 10 renminbi was donated to the same province where the donor’s corporate headquarters was situated, leaving the poorest rural areas without financial support.

Second, three-quarters of the donors gave to a single cause: education, leaving out other realms needing support.

Third, the majority of donors gave through their corporations, a pattern “reflecting the range of legal, regulatory, and political challenges facing the development of a vibrant giving environment on a national level.”

China’s new Charity Law will encourage a more sturdy model of contemporary giving, allowing for more charities to raise funds from the public without a complex registration system or a need for approval from the supervisory board and China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs.

The law will also allow for tax incentives for charities and make it easier for the wealthy to establish charitable trusts on their own. Moreover, with a track record of scandals in the past which have deterred success in charitable giving, transparency as well as tighter management will be incorporated.

“From the philanthropy side and public policy side, it’s very well written,” Edward Cunningham, a scholar at Harvard University said.

The global community looks forward to the results from the Charity Law, not just in better services and poverty alleviation for Chinese citizens but a transparent and confident government charity program.

Priscilla Son

Annie Lennox _ The Globa
Activist and world-renowned musician, Annie Lennox, has become a powerful and influential voice for those suffering from malaria, HIV, AIDS and tuberculosis. Her dedication to the cause became even clearer at a recent All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) meeting in London where she spoke out in favor of the Global Fund and their efforts to reduce and treat disease in impoverished areas.

This is but one of the many ways in which Annie Lennox involves herself in issues of global poverty and disease. In the past, she has fundraised for the Treatment Action Campaign by donating the funds raised from her single, Sing. She is also a recipient of the British Red Cross’ Services to Humanity Award.

At the APPG meeting, she continued her charity work, by vocally supporting the Global Fund and their many initiatives. The Global Fund is a financing institution with the goal of providing support to countries suffering from diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

The organization has set a $13 billion funding target for the 2017-2019 period. This money will go toward saving eight million people and stopping 300 million new infections across the span of three years. In order to reach this goal, donor nations will have to increase their offerings by 20 percent. Multiple nations such as Japan and Canada have agreed to this increase. However, the U.K.’s contribution is crucial to reaching this goal.

In her keynote speech, Annie Lennox urged British members of parliament to invest further in the Global Fund and increase their disease-fighting efforts. She said: “With the upcoming replenishment of the Global Fund, the U.K. government has the opportunity to show that their continued leadership and dedication to saving and improving quality of life has not waned.”

Award-winning actress Emma Thompson supported the call for the U.K. to step up their funding. Other notable speakers, such as The ONE Campaign’s U.K. Director, Saira O’Mallie, spoke on the same subject. O’Mallie addressed the pertinent issue through her statement, “Amid the uncertainty over the U.K.’s position in the world following Brexit, the Government’s continued commitment to the Global Fund will offer reassurance to millions of vulnerable people.”

The Global Fund does wonders to improve health across the globe, and should be supported across all countries in addition to the U.K.

Jordan Little

Photo: Flickr

Global Innovation FundA new investment firm called the Global Innovation Fund recently announced its first round of grants and equity investments, reports Devex, a media platform for the global development community.

In the evaluation of potential investments, says Devex, the London-based Fund focuses primarily on the projected impact on the world’s poorest. It professes a strong adherence to evidence-based programming, valuing concrete plans and results over the implausible.

The inception of the Fund, launched in December 2014, marks an increasingly popular trend of private sector firms experimenting with new business models geared toward development and poverty alleviation in underprivileged places around the world.

USAID describes the Fund’s business strategy as “a venture capital-like approach to investing in a wide range of social innovations, drawing on the success of the industry to discover and support innovative ventures that have the potential to scale across the developing world.”

This strategy bears similarities to a number of new experimental business models, such as social entrepreneurship and impact investment, which are reshaping the way the private sector and development communities think about the developing world.

According to USAID, the Fund is currently seeking innovative ideas that will both spur development and turn a profit “from a wide range of potential partners, including social enterprises for-profit firms, researchers, government agencies, non-profit organizations and others.”

Collaboration, in other words, is the new name of the game.

The Fund’s website lists numerous examples of the work they have done and the kinds of ideas they are interested in.

PoaPower, for instance, is a social enterprise designed to supply low-income consumers in off-grid Kenya with clean and affordable electricity using a pay-as-you-go system. PoaPower’s £150,000 loan from the Global Innovation Fund will support the development of this unique model, with which it aims to serve 100 to 200 households in the Mount Kenya area.

The Fund seems to show a preference for ideas that have not only positive effects for economics or finance, but also health and safety. Large-scale health problems and poverty often correlate.

On its website, the Fund announced it provided a £160,000 grant to SafeBoda, a Ugandan company that aims to curb an epidemic of road accidents by instituting an Uber-like system of safe motorbike taxis and encouraging the use of helmets.

If successful, such a venture would not only save lives, but save money for the country. According to the Global Innovation Fund’s website, over “60 percent of the surgical budget at the main Kampala hospital is spent on treating motorbike crash injuries.”

Among the Fund’s investments in medical and food security programs is Valid Nutrition, which aims to distribute a paste based on locally grown ingredients that could reduce widespread acute malnutrition. The Newborn Foundation is another organization which aims to supply poor areas with low-cost pulse oximeters that can improve the detection of neonatal infection and reduce infant mortality by an estimated 25 to 30 percent.

All of these ideas are said to be cost-effective and scalable. Most importantly, the Global Innovation Fund affirms they will “improve the lives and opportunities of millions of people around the world.”

Joe D’Amore

Sources: Devex, Global Innovation Fund, USAID
Photo: Flickr

Open Society FoundationsBillionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundations (OSF) is committed to building “vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people,” according to the organization’s website. “We seek to strengthen the rule of law, respect for human rights, minorities and a diversity of opinions, democratically elected governments and a civil society that helps keep government power in check.”

Authoritarian governments, in which absolute power is held by a single dictator or ruling party, have been linked to an increase in poverty. To unveil the full impact of authoritarian government on poverty, the Human Development Report of the United Nations analyzed the condition of sub-Saharan Africa over the last 30 years. The study revealed authoritarian governments are more likely to become corrupted, have greater levels of violence than democracies and often favor the poverty of their citizens.

Conversely, open societies allow for freedom of belief, flexible social structure and availability of information. Citizens have a greater say in the running of their own countries and lives.

George Soros founded OSF in 1979 when he realized he had the funds and connections to make a real difference. By 1984, he had established his first foundation in Hungary, which involved the distribution of photocopiers in a bid to lessen the communist control on freedom of print. Within two decades, OSF had become active in all regions of the world.

Despite its positive aims, some countries have not welcomed OSF’s mission. In May 2015, Russia banned ‘undesirable’ foreign organizations that could compromise its constitutional order or national security. “The ‘undesirables’ law and its implementation have been a terrible blow for civic freedoms in Russia,” said Hugh Williamson, the Europe and Central Asia director of Human Rights Watch.

Despite resistance, OSF continues to grow by way of a two-part strategy. First, it operates the Central European University, where future political leaders can research and analyze new solutions to ensure that open societies remain stable. Students from more than 100 countries attend the university.

Second, current OSF president Christopher Stone created the New Executives Fund, a $2 million fund to start off nonprofit organizations that support education, social change and public health. Every year, two or three selected nonprofits receive two-year grants ranging from $25,000 to $250,000. This fund, as well as supporting worthy causes, has directed global attention toward OSF.

Making inroads to transforming authoritarian governments into open societies helps to reduce poverty and improve standards of living. OSF is committed to forming governments across the globe “where all people are free to participate fully in civic, economic and cultural life.”

Sarah Prellwitz

Sources: Philanthropy, HRW, Open Society Foundations 1, Open Society Foundations 2, Tide Global Learning
Photo: Google Images

The Four C's Behind Cool GivingIn the United States’ current sociopolitical climate, charitable donations and the appeal of philanthropic investments continue to increase, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Although down from the 2.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) allocated to giving in the pre-recession 2000s, sources find that philanthropy is on an upswing, inching back to 2.1 percent in 2015 from 1.8-1.9 percent between 2008 and 2012. This trend may be due in part to a social movement of “cool giving.”

Although donations from corporations have had a sharper increase, individual giving, too, has gained traction, both in dollar amount and in frequency, according to Forbes’ list of “50 Top Givers in 2014.”

This uptick demonstrates more than a numerical increase in donations; it delineates a social movement of philanthropy, and a widespread attitude of cool giving.

The four Cs below articulate why now, perhaps more than ever, helping the world’s poor is considered cool.

1. It is often in the form of a challenge.

Be it the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge of 2014 (linked to ALS by Chris Kennedy, because of a relative suffering from the disease) or The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenge program, a competition for grantees in specific fields to solve key global health and development problems, competition sparks change. And, in an age of social media, competitive opportunities are expanding and becoming more easily accessible.

There is nothing like throwing a bucket of icy water on your head to help those in need.

2. It demonstrates strong character.

A desire for generous rebranding, fueled by the 2016 presidential election, is taking place in the U.S. Republicans and Democrats alike — Michael R. Bloomberg, Paul Singer, Charles Koch, to name a few — have made momentous contributions to charitable organizations. Partisanship aside, when philanthropic organizations reap the benefits of the one-upmanship of doing good, the world’s poor benefit too.

3. Collaboration is key.

In 2015, The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit resource for mission-driven organization and philanthropies, published research about the U.S.’s top donors and the “big bets” hedged in such contributions. The results illustrated that 80 percent of multi-million dollar donations are given with a specific goal in mind. (Bridgespan gives the example of Don and Foris Fisher’s participation with the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) for the improvement of public education).

Increased Internet access and online materials make donation allocation easy. And, with these specifications posted online for a larger readership, corporations and individual donors feel team-like camaraderie in taking steps toward remedying a problem. As with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, key steps are clearly outlined and updated in the website’s mission statement and strategic planning pages. Collaborating on a goal and seeing first-hand results, Bridgespan concluded, further incentivizes charitable acts.

4. The sky’s the limit on creativity.

Founded in 2012, Global Citizen focuses on making policy changes toward global poverty eradication as an organization that couples artistry with charity. The Global Citizen Festival, promoted by Coldplay’s Chris Martin at the Super Bowl, epitomizes the longstanding relationship between the arts and philanthropy. At the September 2015 festival, artists like Beyoncé and Pearl Jam blended the beats of Bob Marley to the inspiring words of Nelson Mandela. The result? Wide coverage of the program’s Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to end global poverty by 2030.

Celebrity influence certainly brings attention to an issue but the multimedia tools of exposure — concerts, festivals, videos — also make the issues relatable and memorable.

Whether they come from competition, creative incentive, collaboration or character building, good deeds in 2016 are all the rage. Isn’t it cool to give?

Nora Harless

Sources: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Bridgespan Group, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Forbes Magazine, Global Citizen, TIME Magazine
Photo: Flickr

anti-poverty_campaignDropping oil prices and tightening budgets across nations in the Gulf are making it difficult to raise money for charity causes. But Bill Gates, with a growing culture of philanthropy in the region, is hoping to attract wealthy regional donors with the Anti-Poverty Campaign.

By visiting the region, Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and a well-known philanthropist, is actively seeking donations toward his foundation’s $2.5 billion ‘Lives and Livelihood Fund.’ The fund is philanthropy which aims to reduce poverty and disease across 30 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The Lives and Livelihood Fund is a joint project with the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB). Launched in June, the IDB and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation formally announced the $500 million grant facility.

Through the innovative facility, IDB, the Gates Foundation and potential future donors will support over five years of poverty-focused programs worth $2.5 billion in primary healthcare, disease control, smallholder agriculture and basic rural infrastructure in IDB member countries, with a special focus on low-income countries.

At the launch, Gates appealed to donors saying, “we now have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve the quality of life for each of the nearly 2 billion people living in the bank’s member countries. It is an honor to join you in this historic effort.”

IDB has committed $2 billion in loans financing the Gates Foundation if they are able to raise $500 million in donations (of which the Gates foundation has pledged $100 million). Donations, for the remaining difference, are expected to be drawn from wealthy Gulf nations.

Speaking in the United Arab Emirates during an interview with Reuters, Gates said, “Certainly the price of oil means that these countries are having to prioritize both domestic and international things they do. It would be easier if oil was $100 a barrel.”

Oil prices have fallen 60 percent since mid-2014, and the benchmark Brent crude was trading around $42.80 in December 2015.

Despite this, “Philanthropy is growing here and every time I come to the region I get a chance to sit and talk with people who are considering giving and I hear a lot of enthusiasm,” Gates said.

According to Gates, the anti-poverty campaign has several key partners in the region. Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is one such partner.

Back in July, the prince said he would gradually donate his entire $32 billion fortune to charities that promote health, disease eradication, disaster relief and women’s rights.

Days later, United Arab Emirates businessman Abdullah Ahmad al-Ghurair gave more than $1 billion, a third of his business empire, to a foundation supporting education in the Arab world.

Large-scale donations like these could mark a new trend among the Gulf’s wealthiest. The changes that could come as a result of their generosity are promising, to say the least.

Kara Buckley

Sources: Business Insider, ISDB
Photo: Quotes Gram