Each year, The Motley Fool selects five charities from reader nominations to be part of our annual charity drive, Foolanthropy. The 2005 campaign raised a total of $289,597, which pushed our nine-year total to more than $2.5 million.
As part of our philanthropic due diligence process, I asked each charity that participated in last year's campaign to account for how that money was spent. Some of the organizations are much larger than others and, as such, were unable to pinpoint exactly which of their global projects Fools' funds went to. In these cases, general information on recent operations was provided. In other cases, very specific information was detailed. Some of the responses are in general terms, whereas others address the Fool community directly. Some are lengthy, and others are to the point.
I've let the charities speak for themselves:
Heifer International ($107,279)
Since 1944, Heifer International has helped more than 7 million families in more than 125 countries move toward greater self-reliance, through the gift of livestock and training in animal well-being and sustainable agriculture. Heifer's first projects in Nepal, begun in 1993, involved 25 women. That single project has since multiplied into 112 women's groups around the country. The Women's Group Coordination Committee has been so successful that in November 2005, they were able to pass on a goat offspring, not to another Nepali group, but to people in need half a world away: Americans affected by Hurricane Katrina. The women of the group also saved rice to donate to those in need of food and established a scholarship to fund a young girl's education.
Heifer International recognizes, however, that obstacles to our mission vary throughout time. Today, we as a world community are confronting HIV/AIDS, a virus that has infected or killed more than 60 million people in the last 20 years. Heifer International is in a unique position to positively impact the lives and futures of people living with HIV/AIDS. To this end, Heifer has launched a global HIV/AIDS initiative. Through assistance from Heifer, the gift of livestock will add much-needed animal-source protein and nutrients to the diet of those infected, as well as their families. In addition, the sale of surplus milk and other animal products can provide cash to pay school fees, purchase medicine, and provide supplementary food for a well-balanced diet.
Humane Society of Louisiana ($81,174)
As the one-year anniversary date of Katrina approaches, our group is still struggling to respond to the impact of the storm. Animal control officials in New Orleans report that the stray animal problem is back to pre-Katrina conditions. With our local headquarters destroyed, our efforts have focused on communities on the outskirts of the Greater New Orleans area, rather than in the city proper, although we are scheduled to reopen our local adoption center, Happy Tails, in the city on Aug. 19.
HSLA has been active in supporting small shelters around the state -- from helping them to apply for grants, to starting local chapters, or taking out animals otherwise scheduled for euthanasia because of space constraints. As a result, our own intakes have increased by more than 100% since Katrina, although we are still operating primarily in disaster mode from Tylertown, Mississippi.
Our budget has correspondingly more than doubled since the storm. The Motley Fool's Foolanthropy gifts represent the biggest single source of gifts to our agency since Katrina, and they have helped us remain in operation. The Foolanthropy gifts funded the entire cost of all of our routine and emergency veterinary expenses during the first eight months of 2006.
Mercy Corps ($49,922)
Foolanthropy donors contributed approximately $50,000 to Mercy Corps' emergency relief efforts. That investment was critical, because the needs in places like Pakistan, following the massive earthquake there, far outstripped the resources the humanitarian community had to address them. At a time when many organizations were feeling the effects of donor fatigue, Mercy Corps was fortunate to have the support of the Motley Fool's readers.
There is a Chinese proverb that says, "Crisis is opportunity riding a dangerous wind," and Mercy Corps tends to share that attitude. We look at a complex emergency as an opportunity to build communities back even stronger than before, and we thank Motley Fool readers for enabling us to do that.
(Read more about Mercy Corps' current operations in Beirut in this interview with CEO Neal Keny-Guyer.)
Doctors Without Borders ($31,140)
The following is a list of significant aid efforts Doctors Without Borders (a.k.a. MSF) has undertaken around the world:
(1) Treating malnutrition in Niger: In 2005, during the worst nutritional emergency in Niger in years, MSF implemented an innovative approach to treating children suffering from severe malnutrition. Using the outpatient approach in Niger last year enabled MSF teams to treat more than 63,000 severely malnourished children.
(2) Caring for the displaced and victims of violence in Darfur, Sudan: MSF's response to the vast humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan is now the largest field program in the organization's 35-year history. Following the emergence of rebel movements in 2003, government-backed militias have carried out a campaign of terror against civilians. Approximately one in three residents of Darfur have been driven from their homes. The war and the resulting humanitarian crisis have left many thousands dead and an estimated 2.4 million displaced. In 2005, MSF teams performed over a million medical consultations at roughly 30 locations across the region (including refugee camps in Chad), bringing urgent health care to hundreds of thousands of people.
(3) Far-reaching medical, emergency, and vaccination programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Since civil war broke out in the DRC in 1998, it is estimated that millions of people have died needlessly due to ongoing violence and preventable diseases such as malaria and measles. Despite a peace accord signed in 2002, violence continues to flare. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people in the DRC rely on external assistance for basic medical care. MSF has far-reaching basic health-care programs, treating populations in five of the country's 10 provinces. Within a period of a few weeks, MSF teams vaccinated about 600,000 children between the ages of six months and five years.
(4) Bringing hope to victims of mutilation in Uganda: For the past two decades, war between government forces and rebels has torn apart northern Uganda. The conflict has caused more than 1.6 million people to become refugees. MSF operates clinics and provides water and sanitation in 20 camps throughout the north, and runs programs to treat people with HIV/AIDS, malaria, and kala azar, a deadly parasitic disease. In Gulu district, MSF runs a night shelter on the grounds of a hospital for about 2,000 "night commuters" -- children who, out of fear of being abducted by rebels, leave their homes each night to find a safe place to sleep. MSF also offers primary health care to tens of thousands of displaced people living in four camps in Gulu. In 2006, the organization is introducing treatment for victims of sexual violence, TB treatment, voluntary counseling and testing for HIV, and treatment for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV at these projects.
(5) Operations in Asian earthquake areas: The day after the Oct. 8 earthquake devastated parts of Kashmir, MSF teams were on the ground delivering emergency aid. The earthquake killed more than 70,000 people and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless. When our teams reached each new area, they found thousands of people with severe wounds, including fractures, spinal cord injuries, lacerations, and infections. At the peak of MSF's intervention last fall, more than 150 international and 450 national staff provided emergency care at 18 permanent sites in Pakistan and three in India. These teams included doctors, nurses, surgeons, psychologists, social workers, and water-and-sanitation experts. To carry out its programs, MSF airlifted in nearly 2,000 metric tons of medical and relief supplies. During MSF's relief operations, its surgical teams performed over 4,000 major and minor surgeries, and its medical teams carried out more than 116,000 medical and mental health consultations, including physiotherapy for nearly 10,000 injured people. Approximately 83,000 families benefited from MSF's distributions of supplies like tents, heaters, and shelter kits.
The donations raised through Foolanthropy for DonorsChoose went to directly fund student projects on our site. Donors were able to direct their donations to specific school projects they found compelling on our site as they gave to the campaign. We were absolutely thrilled to have taken part in the competition and to have had the opportunity to share our mission with your many Motley Fools.
On Oct. 16, Foolanthropy 2006 kicks off with a call for nominations on our Foolanthropy discussion board.
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Hilton Family Hotels
Online editor Carrie Crockett was co-chair of the Foolanthropy 2005 campaign, along with David Gardner. She owns no shares of Hilton.