Monday, August 25, 2008

American Express Members Project... Vote for LiNK or Five & Alive! Both!

A couple great causes I know of are participating in the American Express Members Project where the winning project will be awarded $1.5 million. Second and third place projects will win $500,000 and $300,000 respectively, and then two finalists will win $100,000 each. Very cool effort by American Express.

The first project to consider is Liberty House by LiNK (Liberty in North Korea):

Liberty House: a refugee resettlement center specifically for North Korean refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. In conjunction with the federal government, full financial support, basic necessities, and core services – such as case management, vocational/ educational training, job placement, counseling, mentorship, cultural orientation, and recreational/ youth activities – will be provided. The goal of Liberty House is to acculturate these unique refugees and help them become self-sufficient.

North Korea is home to some of today’s worst human rights violations. As such, up to 300,000 have fled to China risking torture/execution if captured and repatriated. A fraction escape and seek resettlement in nations willing to provide asylum. Once resettled, refugees face issues like discrimination, acclimating to a new culture/language, getting jobs, and starting new lives alone. Due to the unique background of these refugees, it’s critical there is a program to address their specific needs. (read more and vote here)

Mi Sun: A North Korean Refugee

Adrian Hong, LiNK's Co-founder and Executive Director, is a friend and asked me to be an advisor to their incredible nonprofit organization earlier this year.

The second project to consider is Five & Alive. It was founded by Kate Roberts, who I met during the Socrates Society Seminars of the Aspen Institute. Very cool and amazing person. Kate founded the Youth AIDS program and then founded Five & Alive. Both are initiatives under PSI. More on their project:

Five & Alive reaches children five and under to prevent and treat malaria, water-borne illness, pneumonia and malnutrition. Five & Alive, a program of Population Services International (PSI), provides children and their families with the education, products, services and care needed to improve health and save lives in more than 30 countries.

Every year, an estimated two million children under the age of five die from diarrhea. Children die in such shockingly high numbers because of loss of fluids during severe diarrhea. Approximately 95% of these deaths could be prevented. There is a solution that is simple to use, cost effective and could save millions of lives. That solution is oral rehydration salts (ORS) combined with zinc.

Five & Alive has such a treatment in one complete package called a Diarrhea Treatment Kit. This kit costs just 37¢ and is easy to distribute. This Five & Alive project can be eligible for the top Members Project prize of $1.5 million but we can’t do it alone - we need your help. (read more and vote here)

Reducing diarrhea risk for Cambodian children

The first round of VOTING ENDS AUGUST 31ST. Vote for one of these great causes! Vote for both!!

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