By Tarara Deane-Krantz, Bloomberg Philanthropies Founder's Projects
In 2008, Bloomberg Philanthropies partnered with the Rwandan government and Women for Women International to train Rwandan women survivors of conflict in income-generating activities. Since the start of the partnership, the program has expanded beyond Rwanda, and our commitment in the country has only deepened.
The Rwandan government is committed to Vision2020, an economic development plan aiming to transform Rwanda into a middle-income country by 2020. Our program aligns with this goal by supporting women in rural parts of Rwanda through basic skills training in numeracy, literacy, health and hygiene, as well as vocational training in income-generating activities that align with the economic needs of the Rwandan people.
By Verna Eggleston, Bloomberg Philanthropies Founder’s Projects
Africa is the world’s next great economic success story. With growth expected to reach above five percent in 2015, the continent is now home to six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world.In Rwanda, coffee production is one of the largest sectors and has fueled the country’s economic development. And with national buyers interested in Rwanda’s specialty coffee production, Bloomberg Philanthropies has helped ensure that more women are not only a vital part of this growth – but emerge as strong participants in the international coffee market.
By David Griswold, CEO and Founder of Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers
I’ve had the immense privilege of working with small-scale coffee farmers in the developing world for the last 25 years through my role with Sustainable Harvest, the company I founded. Sustainable Harvest is an importer of high-quality specialty-grade coffees from over 15 countries around the world. As pioneer of the Relationship Coffee Model, we’ve led the paradigm shift that has served as the foundation for the direct trade model and the interest in creating a closer connection between farmers and consumers. Today we are expanding our efforts by introducing a new model of premium sharing.
By Melissa Wright, Executive Director, City Energy Project
Did you know that buildings—including many of the very structures that make the nation’s cityscapes distinctive and recognizable—are the single largest user of energy in the United States? Each year, our cities spend $450 billion on energy for our buildings, with a lot of that energy being wasted on inefficient buildings. This is bad news not just for our pocketbooks, but also for our health, as more than half of the carbon emissions in U.S. cities come from the operation of buildings. However, a national initiative co-funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Kresge Foundation, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, is working to change that and bring jobs and prosperity to cities across the U.S. in the process—and the project just hit a major milestone.
The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids launched the “Stop Marlboro Campaign” ahead of Philip Morris’ annual shareholder meeting to send a strong message to Philip Morris: stop targeting young people. And the organization is also calling upon government officials around the world to ban Philip Morris’ latest international marketing campaign, “Be Marlboro.”
Fernando Garcia is a high school senior from Los Angeles, California and a participant in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ College Access and Success initiative, CollegePoint. Through the initiative, Fernando was paired with a one-on-one virtual advisor Chloe Collins, from partner organization College Possible, to identify best fit schools and financial aid opportunities. Fernando was recently accepted to several selective colleges and has secured a Gates Millennium Scholarship. He plans to attend Yale University in the fall and expects to major in Economics.
Some organizations use Earth Day to celebrate accomplishments achieved on behalf of the planet despite the odds. Others use it for gentle prodding, urging us to turn off the lights or take shorter showers. Often, it sounds like a zero sum equation: what people want is bad for the planet, stopping human activity is what’s best for the earth.
Earlier this month, we announced we will invest an additional $30 million in the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, with the goal to secure the replacement of half of the U.S. coal fleet with clean energy solutions by 2017. Reducing our reliance on dirty coal will not just help save the environment – it will save lives. One of those lives is Amee Kapadia, a high school sophomore from Alexandria, VA who personally experienced the health detriments air pollution brings, as well as the positive results of shutting down a coal-fired power plant in her community. This is her story.
By Tommy Pacello, Director, Mayor’s Innovation Team, Memphis
Innovation at the city level is vital for long-term growth and stability, but developing bold solutions to big urban challenges requires a devotion to process and partnership and strong leadership that is willing to try something new. I didn’t fully understand the difficulty of this until I had the opportunity to serve on a team dedicated to taking on tough city issues using a new approach.
From the world’s tropical seas to the icy waters of the Arctic, and from the great salmon runs of the Pacific coast of North America to the rich waters of the Humboldt Current in the southern hemisphere and beyond, the world’s oceans provide people with food, livelihoods and strong cultural traditions. Today, nearly three billion people rely on the oceans for food and income, and that number is growing. Yet for much of our history, we have taken this bounty for granted, assuming the oceans had infinite capacity to absorb pollution and produce fish.
We know better now. Our critical ocean resources are being degraded through overfishing, mismanagement, and pollution.
But the tide is changing. Three events last week illustrate how committed individuals and organizations from government, the private sector, and NGOs are helping our oceans recover so that our growing human population will be able to depend on these resources long into the future.