Archive for December, 2007


Let’s Not Mess Up the Endgame

Posted by alison on December 28th, 2007

It’s blockbuster season in Hollywood – there’re a whole bunch of great movies out there, including “Charlie Wilson’s War,” which I saw last night. It’s a fantastic-but-true story of the Texas Congressman, played by Tom Hanks, who influenced Congress to support Afghan freedom fighters in their battle against Soviet invaders in the 1980s. Working with a renegade CIA agent (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and an anti-Communist Texas socialite (Julia Roberts), Wilson managed to increase the appropriations for this “covert” war from $5 million to $500 million over a few years – arming the mujahideen who were ultimately victorious against the Soviets.

Despite this triumph over communism, the end of the movie depicts Wilson’s unsuccessful attempt to push the U.S. government to invest in the post-armed-conflict Afghan infrastructure, in the form of education and rebuilding schools. So that didn’t happen, and the weakened state of the country post-war contributed to the subsequent rise of the Taliban – and we all know how that’s turned out (ironically, this movie touches upon “who was responsible for the execution of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” father of Benazir, who was assassinated in Pakistan yesterday).

Of course, it’s the movies, and we hope for Hollywood endings. But to me, Charlie’s quote in the epilogue, about  “changing the world but messing up the endgame,” highlights how these critical elements of civil society – education, health care, a decent economy – can make a huge difference in the overall stability and ultimate prosperity of a country and its people.

Good movie. Thumbs up for Charlie Wilson’s War from this reviewer.

See the work GlobalGiving is supporting in Afghanistan.

Help DonorsChoose win a Crunchie

Posted by Donna Callejon on December 22nd, 2007

Our buddies over at DonorsChoose are the best at rallying people to help them win awards. They won the BIG A$# Amazon award in 2005, have been on Oprah, and now are finalists for the Tech Crunch “Crunchie” Awards.

Not to dis the other great finalists…but DonorsChoose is a special friend to us. In fact, just this week we received a sizeable grant due to an introduction made by Charles.

So, if you have a moment, click here and vote for DonorsChoose.

The kindness of strangers–and the power of video

Posted by mari on December 21st, 2007

So when Dennis and I left the World Bank to start GlobalGiving, we left a pretty impressive infrastructure of support. And by infrastructure I mean not just IT and administrative support, I also mean access to an in-house printing shop, large format printers, in-house photographers, video equipment … But what has been amazing here at GlobalGiving is that we sometimes have access to world-class resources because of the kindness of strangers.

The two strangers are Petra Dilthey, and Uli Schwarz, who virtually showed up at our doorstep on a day in October this year via an email after reading Bill Easterly‘s book White Man’s Burden. Here’s what they said:

From our point of view the projects, you are supporting and promoting are worth while to be shown to as much viewers as possible. We are a German filmmaker couple which dedicates their life to poor children and would like to discuss fields of possible collaboration with you.

I got this email 3 days before my colleague Donna and I were headed out to Los Angeles to try and somehow get our minds around how to get more video integrated into the GlobalGiving experience, thinking about getting more video footage from our project leaders, developing footage for a public service announcement, and seeking advice from our advisory board member Carole Bayer Sager. And here are their first videos, from Andhra Pradesh. They are beautiful and moving, and come a lot closer to our original vision for GlobalGiving–bringing the daily drama and excitement of succeeding against all the odds in all the disadvantaged communities around the world straight to the screen. And an opportunity to help.


The 50 Brides of Prajwala: Shattered Dreams Reborn


Providing Education for 100 girls in Andhra


Are you ready for a challenge?

Posted by bill brower on December 18th, 2007

America’s Giving Challenge is on!

Here is the video I made a couple of nights ago with my good friend Nathan on the steps of the Capitol. Share the video, and start a fundraiser.

Thanks to for the killer soundtrack.


Women’s Funding Network – Compatriots in Delivering “The Real Deal”

Posted by Donna Callejon on December 16th, 2007

This past week I received a newsletter from our friends at the Women’s Funding Network. Here’s what the lead story said:

Looking for the Real Deal this holiday season? Most of us are. We want something real, something valuable, beautiful, and we want the money we spend and the gifts we give to matter. Women’s Funding Network delivers the Real Deal.

Women’s funds democratize philanthropy. In the U.S., philanthropy was created as a tax incentive so those with means could receive tax deductions for helping those in need. Despite that ideal, 70-90% of tax-deductible gifts in the U.S. end up helping the middle class and the wealthy. Women’s Funding Network is the exact opposite because 80% of our members’ grants go to women living in poverty and those most affected by homelessness, violence and human rights abuses.

These investments result in empowerment for women who build out that progress in stronger families, better communities and hope for the world. That’s genuine philanthropy. We deliver the Real Deal.

It reminded me of a piece published by former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, a couple of months ago. In his blog post (which appeared also as an article in the LA Times, on NPR Marketplace, etc), he pretty much said that it would be more appropriate if only those charitable donations that address the issues connected to poverty received tax-deductibility benefits from the US government. He also goes on to discuss the importance of government funding for programs that give tools to lift people out of poverty…If you read the comments on the blog post you’ll see that he inspired quiet a lot of response – for and against.

Seems most realistic to work under the assumption that the issues that perpetuate poverty – in the US or anywhere in the world – can truly only be addressed with investment both from the “top down” (aka government, multi-lateral organizations, et. al) and from the “bottom up” (e.g., GlobalGiving, DonorsChoose, Kiva, Women’s Funding Network). Neither approach can do it alone, neither is unequivocally better or worse as far as efficacy. Here at GlobalGiving we’ve chosen to build a bottom-up tool, but the recent announcement that funding to the World Bank has increased substantially this round is great news too. (shout out to my former colleague Bob Zoellick!)

Sometimes it’s those art programs that lift a child out of poverty. They could be In NYC or in Rio. To quote a current candidate for whom Mr. Reich worked indirectly, “It takes a village.”

Regardless… Hats off to our partners at WFN, and other GlobalGiving partners around the world, who are “keepin it real.”

Take the Challenge

Posted by alison on December 14th, 2007

Can the Internet revolutionize citizen-led philanthropy?

That’s the question The Case Foundation and Parade Magazine are hoping to address with the America’s Giving Challenge, the first large-scale initiative to use technology as a way of inspiring people to support causes they care about. Through the Challenge, which runs from now through January 31, 2008, Parade is encouraging individuals to champion causes they care about, raising donations online using Web 2.0 tools that make it easy to spread the word and give. And there are some other incentives (of the monetary sort) too: the eight “fundraisers” attracting the greatest number of donations for their causes will each get $50,000 for their chosen cause, and the 100 causes that receive the most donations will each get $1,000.

GlobalGiving is one of the two partners selected by Case and Parade to support the Challenge (Network for Good is the other, for US-based organizations) – so anyone who wants to support an international cause will have the opportunity to fundraise for or donate to a project on GlobalGiving – with the potential to get $50,000 for that project!

The Washington Post and New York Times have already written about the Challenge, which kicked off yesterday, and the really big bang will come this weekend, when Parade is featuring the Challenge in its magazine (look for Denzel Washington and Oprah Winfrey on the cover) – which is distributed in over 400 U.S. newspapers, and has a readership of more than 70 million!

So if you’ve got a favorite project, now’s your opportunity to help them get $50,000. Set up a fundraiser, create a charity badge, tell all your friends, leverage your social network, take the Challenge…become a part of the revolution!

Oh So Pretty…

Posted by alison on December 12th, 2007

A new study by the beauty brand, Nephria, has found that women, on average, spend almost three years (cumulative) of their lives getting ready to go out.  It sounds absurd, but if you think about all the time that is spent, prepping, primping, changing outfits, twirling in front of the mirror, obsessing about that hair kink…it adds up! 

I’d love to say that I am immune from that statistic, a but after a recent incident where I got schooled by the 3-1-1 TSA carry-on rules (resulting in the necessary repurchasing of over $40 worth of cosmetic materials and contact lens solution) – showed me that I probably contribute to that statistic more than I care to admit.

“…The survey found that before a big night out, women typically spend 22 minutes showering and shaving their legs, seven minutes moisturising, 23 minutes drying and styling their hair, 14 minutes doing their make-up and six minutes getting dressed.

…Add to that the 40 minutes needed to get ready for work every morning, and the amount of time spent preening adds up to more than two years and nine months over a lifetime.

Mathematically, it makes sense, though I think it’s a generous assessment (I don’t take that long to get ready).  But it got me thinking, if on average, women spend three years of their lifetime getting ready….what are they getting ready for?!  And more importantly, how could that time be better spent?!

Admittedly, I’m guilty of spending quality time with my mirror and dragging my flat iron around.  But my own minor vanity aside, I’m glad that there are people in this world who choose to make better use of those three years…instead of applying five steps of Oil of Olay skin care regimen.

On the Road

Posted by saima on December 11th, 2007

Earlier this spring, I had the opportunity to visit some project leaders in Nairobi. I was so impressed with their enthusiasm and eagerness to learn about GlobalGiving and how to appeal to GG donors. I have to say, some folks from that batch have turned out to be real rockstars!

Towards the end of December, GlobalGiving will have the opportunity to meet some Project Leaders in India, Indonesia and Pakistan. We’d love to learn more about the leaders behind these projects and find out about the work they’re doing. We plan to host a few workshops to bring them together and to answer their queries!  Here are just a few of the people we’re planning to visit:

However, as a GlobalGiving donor myself, I wondered, “What would I want to learn from the donor perspective?”

So I would pose this question to you-have you supported any projects in Delhi, Udaipur or Chennai or Indonesia and Pakistan? What more do you want to know?  What else would you like to see? Do you want more project photos?  Interviews with the people behind the project?  Be creative!  Send us your thoughts and questions, and we’ll try to answer as many of them as we can while we’re there.

Vh1 “Nothing But Nets” PSA

Posted by alison on December 10th, 2007

Vh1 and the Best Week Ever crew launched a funny PSA around their “Nothing But Nets” campaign about preventing Malaria in Africa.  Check it out:


Top Read CNN “News” Stories – huh?

Posted by Donna Callejon on December 8th, 2007

Take a look at the most highly read stories on today:


Oprah, a parade gone bad, MySpace suicide, and the writer’s strike in Hollywood.

How about somebody paying attention to this:

BASRA, Iraq, Dec 5 (Reuters) – Women in Iraq’s southern city of Basra are living in fear. More than 40 have been killed and their bodies dumped in the streets in the past five months for behaviour deemed un-Islamic, the city’s police chief says.

A warning scrawled in red on a wall threatens any woman who wears makeup or appears in public without an Islamic headscarf with dire punishment. Read More…