The Fountain of Youth is a legendary spring that
restores the vitality of anyone who drinks of its waters. I don’t know
of anything that restores a sense of vigor more than taking joy in
using one’s resources to help others in need. Here are two of my
personal favorite places to give:
1. Amman Imman – In September
2005 Ariane Kirtley began her work in the pastoral region of the
Azawak, Niger as a Fulbright Scholar conducting public health
research. There, she witnessed children traveling up to 30 miles
a day searching for water, often in vain. She met with families
who had spent their life resources hand digging over 300 feet into the
ground, yet never reaching water despite the many years of labor.
She spoke with fathers who had lost their traditional way of life as
herders because the rainfall had dwindled from five months to one month
annually in just a decade, all of whose animals had perished from
thirst and hunger. Her research indicated that among the region’s
500,000 inhabitants one out of two children die before the age of five,
mostly due to dehydration and water-related illnesses. In response
Ariane founded Amman Imman, which translated means, water is life. Amman Imman’s
first successful project was to construct a water bearing borehole for
25,000 people and animals in the village of Tangarwashane.
A close, personal friend, Debbie Kahn, founded Wells of Love, the
service-learning component of Amman Imman in October, 2006. Debbie
teaches children in schools, writes blog posts, organizes
collaborative fundraising campaigns such as the annual Walk for Water
here in DC, and has used social networking tools like YouTube and
Facebook to grow the school movement to over 50 schools today. Debbie
has traveled to the Azawak to conduct a Friendship Exchange connecting over
200 children in America with their African brothers and sisters in the
2. GlobalGiving – In 1997,
while I was working at the World Bank, executives Mari Kuraishi and
Dennis Whittle were asked to develop innovative ways to combat poverty
by then president, Jim Wolfensohn. I know Dennis personally and have
watched his amazing progress over the years.
Mari and Dennis created one of the World Bank’s most amazing
achievements, the Development Marketplace. It was a first-of-its-kind
event where people from around the world competed for World Bank funds.
Judges that included some of the Bank’s harshest critics participated
in awarding the coolest and most promising ideas, many of which became
strategically important initiatives over the next five years.
The event’s success unveiled the enormous potential of a global
marketplace for philanthropy, and participants asked for a real
marketplace that was open year round and operated virtually. Mari and
Dennis saw the brilliance of this idea, left the World Bank and
launched GlobalGiving, a charity fundraising web site that gives social
entrepreneurs and non-profits from anywhere in the world a chance to
raise the money that they need to improve their communities. Since
2002, GlobalGiving has raised $76,695,591 from 305,312 donors who have
supported 7,087 projects.
The world is full of problems. GlobalGiving is full of solutions. A
generous anonymous donor has agreed to match 100% of new monthly
donations from December 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012.