Hooray for Heifer! Heifer International, a remarkable 60-year-old charitable organization, has just won the prestigious Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, which carries with it a check for $1 million. It couldn't have happened to a much nicer organization. And, yes, the Hilton prize is named for the founder of Hilton Hotels
You may already be familiar with Heifer, as we (and you!) at The Motley Fool have long supported it and several other remarkable charities via our annual Foolanthropy drives. In the words of the prize press release, read about this outfit's novel way to improve the world:
"Heifer was founded in 1944 by Indiana farmer Dan West, who had worked as a relief worker during the Spanish Civil War. It was West's insight that orphans and displaced war victims who were receiving reconstituted powdered milk needed 'not a cup, but a cow.' In its early years, Heifer helped restock farms devastated by World War II in Europe and Japan, sending livestock overseas by boat tended by volunteers known as the 'seagoing cowboys.' In the last 60 years its people-to-people aid model has helped millions of the world's poorest families in more than 125 countries.
"Heifer emphasizes long-term results rather than temporary aid. Today, in 38 U.S. states and 50 countries Heifer is providing more than 30 types of animals -- from goats and guinea pigs to bees and elephants -- along with training in environmentally sound agricultural practices and other resources to assure that Heifer's original gift of self-reliance will be passed on from generation to generation. A central feature of Heifer's approach, 'Passing on the Gift,' requires every family who receives Heifer animals to give female offspring to another family in need. That family then does the same, multiplying the impact of Heifer's programs until entire communities become self-sustaining."
On hand at the award announcement was none other than Fool co-founder and Heifer fan David Gardner. (A water buffalo was also present.) David spoke about the "pass-it-on" aspect of Heifer's work and how we became aware of Heifer in the first place because Fools in our community "passed on" good words about the organization. (The water buffalo did not speak, but seemed pleased about the award.)
Learn much more about Heifer and the other charities that have knocked our socks off in our Foolanthropy nook -- it's not too late to contribute to any of them, by the way. You can discuss all aspects of giving on our Foolanthropy discussion board.
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.