Harvard University set the tone by declaring last week it will divest itself from fossil fuel investments, writes Rockefeller Brothers Fund President and CEO Stephen Heintz, whose organization divested its endowment in 2014. "Any top-10 foundation that seizes on the momentum of Harvard's divestment still has an opportunity to become a historic leader in the fight against climate change," Heintz writes.
Cash donations from Google, Facebook, Uber and other Silicon Valley tech powerhouses provide immediate relief for Afghan people resettling in the US, but they should also "leverage the technology they've created" to help people in need find jobs and achieve long-term success, says Nawa Lodin of Women for Afghan Women. Lodin encourages tech companies to help refugees develop their careers and to provide job placement assistance.
The Mentor Project has provided free mentoring to more than 61,000 students in the US, India and other nations in STEAM, law, business and other fields, says founder and CEO Deborah Heiser. "We are creating equal access to world expert mentors for students around the world who would otherwise never have access to this kind of knowledge base," Heiser says.
The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust last week awarded $123 million in "Now is the Moment" grants to 71 nonprofits in Maricopa County, Ariz., to help them recover from the pandemic and build long-term resilience. "It gives (recipients) the runway to plan, to know that these organizations can be resilient and be there long term," said trustee Sharon Harper.
High-net-worth individuals often use private foundations as vehicles for philanthropic activity and, through their foundations, usually distribute more than the 5% required annually and are increasingly generous, according to a Foundation Source survey of more than 1,000 private foundations. The survey also found private foundations are embracing "general purpose" grants and are willing to answer calls to ramp up grant-making.
The United Nations General Assembly, which only accepted video statements last year, will have some in-person attendees and others participating by video due to the pandemic. The UN has an honor system regarding vaccinations, but the method is facing challenges as the first UNGA speaker, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, has publicly indicated he does not intend to get vaccinated.
Climate change, governmental instability in Afghanistan and the ongoing pandemic are three issues United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres discussed in an interview prior to the UN General Assembly meeting. In addition, Guterres urges cooperation between the United States and China, noting that "[w]e need to avoid at all cost a Cold War that would be different from the past one, and probably more dangerous and more difficult to manage."
The first deaths from starvation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia have been reported by accounts from witnesses and internal documentation, as the war between the Ethiopian government and Tigray forces enters its 10th month. The World Food Programme reports malnutrition rates of almost 30% for children younger than 5.
The women's health care system in Afghanistan has taken a severe hit since the Taliban took over, including lack of medicine, pain relief or food for birthing mothers -- and male doctors are prohibited from attending to female patients without several female health care workers also present. "There is now a great sense of urgency and desperation," says United Nations Populations Fund Executive Director Natalia Kanem.
The Taliban on Saturday escorted staffers out of the Kabul, Afghanistan, building that housed the World Bank's Women's Economic Empowerment and Rural Development Program after it replaced the offices with the Ministry for Preaching and Guidance and the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay also expressed concerns about restrictions placed on girls' education, since only boys were permitted to return to school.
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