Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Child Nutrition bill passes...remind Congress to restore SNAP benefits

From the Greater Chicago Food Depository...
After more than a year of your letters, calls and e-mails to Congress, I am thrilled to report that the House passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act last week. The bill, which we expect will be signed into law by President Obama, will reauthorize child nutrition programs for five years and includes an additional $4.5 billion in funding for school meal programs over 10 years. In addition to improving the quality of school meals, the bill will help hundreds of thousands of children receive nutritious food after school, on evenings, during summer and during weekends. The Greater Chicago Food Depository operates nearly 100 children’s programs and serves more than 250,000 children every year in Cook County.
While we applaud the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, we’re concerned that the bill is partly paid for by cutting future Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) benefits. Please join us in thanking the House for passing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act while reminding Congress that the restoration of SNAP cuts is essential in ensuring families can continue to put food on the table.
Thank you for helping the hungry.

Kate Maehr
Executive Director and CEO
Greater Chicago Food Depository

Friday, November 26, 2010

Food Depository CEO, Kate Maeher, on WBEZ

From WBEZ, which carried a segment about hunger in Chicago on the show Eight Forty-Eight.

According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 50 million Americans, including about 17 million children, lack consistent access to food. There are efforts to improve this situation. Back in August, the U.S. Senate passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The bill still requires congressional approval.

To discuss hunger in America and how it plays out in Chicago, Eight Forty-Eight spoke to the CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Kate Maehr.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Morton Grove Night Out for The Niles Township Food Pantry

Enjoy an evening of shopping, Nail color, 5 minute massages, local foods and refreshments. Just a $10 recomended donation goes directly to the Food pantry, and at both locations %15 of all jewelery, clothing, shoes and gift certificates purchased that evening will also be donated directly to the Food Pantry! You get to help yourself this holiday season while helping someone in need.

Friends of the Niles Township Food Pantry
Tuesday, November 30 from 07:00 PM
to 9:00 PM

Body Accessory 5638 Dempster
Technicolor Nails/Hair/Spa 5641 DempsterMorton Grove, IL 60053

RESULTS Holiday Wine Tasting Fundraiser in Evanston, 12/5

From the Chicago area RESULTS groups....
RESULTS Holiday Wine Tasting Fundraiser
Sunday December 5, 2010 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
1509 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL

Join us for a holiday wine tasting fundraiser with RESULTS at a charming boutique wine store, Vinic Wine Co., in Evanston, IL! You'll be introduced to our domestic poverty campaigns while sampling domestic wines.

Admission is $25.00 donation at the door. Guests will be asked to consider an additional gift.

Wines of global and domestic varieties, RESULTS gift donation cards, wine gift baskets and gift boxes of chocolates will help you complete your holiday gift shopping while supporting RESULTS' life-saving, life-changing advocacy work.

This event will also be the debut of Wollersheim Winery to the Chicago area. Sample their Pinot Noir and Riesling offerings along with wines from other vineyards. All selections will be hand-selected by our hosts at Vinic Wine Co.

When you come to mingle, learn, and get ready for all your festive celebrations, you will help us transform lives and eliminate poverty.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

World Food Prize winner David Beckmann speaks in Chicago

Last night, I took advantage of a great opportunity to see and hear David Beckmann speak in Chicago. Rev. Beckmann is the president of Bread for the World- a Christian anti-hunger advocacy group – as well as this year’s World Food Prize winner. He spoke at the beautiful Fourth Presbyterian Church on Walnut downtown..a beautiful venue I’ve always wanted to take a peek into. It was a great chance to gather with other poverty fighters and hear reflections from someone who’s been doing this at least 4 times as long as I have.

Overall, Beckmann gives us a hopeful message. In this time of recession and frustration, he put into perspective how far we have come in fighting poverty around the world. Here are some highlights from his talk.

Reflections on Mozambique: In his travels to Mozambique he went to a village where he was greeted warmly by 50 people singing praises to God. This was a village where people raised only cassava on their small plots and ate the gooey food from it to survive. The village had no cars and only bikes. It was clear that they lived in extreme poverty, but not clear how any foreign aid had provided help. One of his colleagues asked them “How have they improved their lives in the last years?” The answers were highly significant: We have peace. We have a school now and even the AIDS orphans go to primary school. People with AIDS have access to retroviral medicines. We have information about AIDS and how to prevent it, no longer assuming it was a cause of witchcraft. Beckmann was struck by the reach of the US government to strongly impact their daily lives and by the work of the people at the local level & Mozambique government. Mostly, he was profoundly encouraged by the progress there, which in fact can be repeated many other places.

World progress against poverty: 26,000 kids die EVERY day from preventable causes, ½ of those from hunger related causes. But in 1960, 55000 kids died each day. This is remarkable progress made just in the last 2-3 decades. He sees this as evidence of God moving in our time. A God who liberates people in a great exodus from poverty. This is happening NOW.

“Give-a-damn”: Our progress has been sporadic. We did cut global poverty in ½ around the Johnson-Nixon eras. In the 1990’s it was cut by ¼. But it was not sustained progress. The difference between the times when we progressed and when we did not was “Give-a-damn.” We haven’t had a presided since Johnson that made poverty reduction a priortity.

Why politics and policy?: Why do we have to use the government instead of charitable food banks? Beckmann says you can’t food-bank your way to the end of poverty. We tried that. Food banks are a good thing and almost every church and synagogue has food collection for the hungry. But we are still hungry as a people. All our efforts result in food banking results in $5 billion worth of food for people per year. The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit (credits for low-income Americans) are worth more than twice as much as all the food banking done in a year.

Tax Credits: All the national talk and debate is about tax credits for the wealthy, but there are two credits for the working poor that may expire at the end of the year. The Earned Income Tax Credit should be a no-brainier. Conservatives like it because it rewards work. The more people work, the more they get. It is one of the biggest anti-poverty programs the US has today. If this reauthorization for EITC and the Child Tax Credit is not approved, then 1 million more kids will be pushed into poverty.

Biblical Examples of Policy change: Jesus cared about the effect of policies and law. He resisted laws that marginalized people, like the Sabbath law that prevented healing. St. Paul used his Roman citizenship for the purposes of God. Moses went to Pharaoh to change slavery.

Consequences of Inaction: 1 in 4 American kids live in a household that runs out of food. Permanent damage is being done to these kids that they (and we) will see the effects of for the next 50-60 years.

What can we do today?: It is time to call the faithful off the couch. The chances of getting things done are actually better than they have been. This is what we can do today, especially with the election right around the corner
1) Drive someone to the polls who couldn’t normally get there
2) Pick a candidate good for poor people and send them $50
3) Join Bread for the World and get engaged in citizenship on behalf of people in poverty. It’s not easy, you’ll have to use your head AND your heart.

Successes of Bread for the World:
1) In the last 10 years, we’ve tripled the development assistance to poor countries. The benefits are most clearly seen in Africa where 17 countries have cut poverty by 1/3. The work was done by Africans, but when they were organized and ready, we have the money available to help them
2) Foreign aid reform: Bread has been working on foreign aid reform for a few years pushing for effectiveness, responsibility, coordination, etc. When Obama took office, the administration was clear with Bread that it was not a priority and they couldn’t take time for it. So, Bread and its allies went to Congress with a foreign aid reform bill, which passed the Senate foreign relations committee. At that point, the administration took notice and said “Wait, give us a chance to do this.” And three weeks ago, Obama announced a clear, coherent policy of foreign aid. It’s a GOOD plan incorporating Bread’s ideas and some of the administration’s own.
3) Sustaining WIC programs to provide food for pregnant women and infants. Beckmann shared a touching personal story of finding out how Bread’s fight to sustain these programs when they were under attack during Reagan’s administration helped his own family. Long after that fight was over and won, he discovered that one of his adopted sons was born of a mother who struggled in poverty and was able to care for herself during pregnancy only because of these programs that Bread had fought for. His son is bright and strong, but may not have been if the mother had no access to government assistance.

Beckmann’s talk was inspiring and moving. To hear more about his account of how Christians are called to change the politics of hunger, pick up his book (available now on Amazon.com) “Exodus from Hunger” and if you are so moved, go to www.bread.com to join Bread for the World

Monday, October 25, 2010

Grameen Foundation in Chicago, Nov 1

From the Grameen Foundation...

In continuation of its support of Bankers without Borders®, Grameen Foundation’s volunteer initiative, the organization is hosting a presentation and discussion on the impact of microfinance. The event, titled “Does microfinance reduce poverty? A dialogue on the social impact of microfinance as a development tool,” will explore the effect of microfinance on the lives of the poor. Microcredit has been successful in increasing access to capital by the poor, but does it actually reduce poverty for the people it intends to help?

The discussion will be framed around the recently released white paper, Measuring the Impact of Microfinance: Taking Another Look, authored by Kathleen O’Dell, Assistant Professor of Economics at Dominican University’s Brennan School of Business. The discussion will feature Alex Counts, President, president, CEO and founder, Grameen Foundation, and Beth Houle, Chief of Staff, Opportunity International.

Please join us on Monday, November 1, at 12 pm. Please RSVP by Thursday, October 28, to trobinson@grameenfoundation.org.

Date: Monday, Nov. 1
Time: 12- 1p.m.
Location: Chase Auditorium, Chase Tower, 10 S. Dearborn St., Chicago
RSVP: By Thursday, Oct. 28 to trobinson@grameenfoundation.org

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Food Depository Volunteers needed for fund drives & raffle sales

The Food Depository requests volunteers for the annual Exchanges Holiday Fund Drive and the Futures Industry Association Expo.

Exchanges Holiday Fund Drive
The 25th annual event includes collecting funds at the Chicago Stock Exchange, the CME Group (including the Chicago Board of Trade) and the Chicago Board Options Exchange. Last year, this two-day drive raised more than $32,000 for the Food Depository.

Where: Various locations in the downtown financial district
When: Wednesday, Nov. 3 and Thursday, Nov. 4
Wednesday, Nov. 3
6:30 to 10:30 a.m. (eight volunteers, two per site)
10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (eight volunteers, two per site)
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (four volunteers)
Thursday, Nov. 4
6:30 to 10:30 a.m. (eight volunteers, two per site)
10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (eight volunteers, two per site)
Responsibilities: Collecting funds at all locations; selling raffle tickets at some locations

Futures Industry Association Expo
This 26th annual event draws more than 4,500 people from more than 30 countries. For the third straight year, the Food Depository will be the beneficiary of the FIA Futures Cares Charity Dinner, which concludes the Expo.

Where: Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave.
When: Wednesday, Nov. 3 and Thursday, Nov. 4
Wednesday, Nov. 3
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (six volunteers)
2 to 6 p.m. (six volunteers)
Thursday, Nov. 4
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (six volunteers)
1 to 4 p.m. (six volunteers)
Responsibilities: Selling raffle tickets and staffing a fundraising basketball challenge

RSVP to Scott Houghton at shoughton@gcfd.org In your RSVP please include:
Your name(s)
Which event(s) you are volunteering for
The day and shift time
Your t-shirt size (if you don’t have a volunteer t-shirt).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What happened with the Global Fund?

Anti-poverty organizations (including RESULTS and ONE) recently mobilized around getting the US and other donor nations to replenish the Global Fund to Fight AIDS TB and Malaria at levels that would allow it's groundbreaking, successful work to continue making progress. So, have you been wondering what happened with that?

The US United States pledged $4 billion over three years- short of the $6 billion requested, but a 38 percent increase over the preceding three years. This NY TImes op-ed gives a summary of what was promised and why we need to do more.

NY Times: "The Future of the Global Fund"

an excerpt:
"The money pledged will be enough to ensure that anyone now being treated will continue to get help. There will also be $2.9 billion to add new programs or renew existing programs that are working well. The disappointing fact is that the rate at which the fund has been expanding its work will be greatly slowed."

Thursday, September 16, 2010


The Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs and the ONE campaign present a public event on the Millennium Development Goals on Monday, Sept 27 at the Chicago Club. See below for more info on this fantastic event!



Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Singer and Goodwill Ambassador against Malaria, UNICEF
Liesl Gerntholtz, Director, Women’s Rights Division, Human Rights Watch
Josh Lozman, Chief of Staff to the CEO and Senior Advisor on Global Health Policy, ONE
Moderated by Sheila Nix, U.S. Executive Director, ONE

With only five years to go until the 2015 deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on world leaders to attend a summit in New York, September 20-22, to accelerate progress towards the MDGs. The goals—adopted at the UN Millennium Summit of 2000—aim to dramatically reduce poverty, hunger, disease, and maternal and child deaths. Join us for an expert panel discussion on the current state of the MDGs, with a particular focus on the progress of initiatives to reduce infant and maternal mortality, and what is needed to bring about sustained change by 2015.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka has been at the forefront of South African popular music for 20 years. An internationally recognized artist, entrepreneur, and humanitarian, she is also UNICEF’s goodwill ambassador against malaria, an ambassador for Roll-Back Malaria sponsored by the World Bank, the United Nations, and the World Health Organization, and a trustee of Tomorrow Trust, a program to educate orphans and other vulnerable children. She founded and presides over the Princess of Africa Foundation, a charity dedicated to fighting malaria.

Liesl Gerntholtz is director of Human Rights Watch’s women’s rights division and an expert on women's rights in Africa. She has written extensively on violence against women and HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa. Before joining Human Rights Watch, she worked for some of the key constitutional institutions promoting human rights and democracy in post-apartheid South Africa, including the South African Human Rights Commission and the Commission on Gender Equality. A lawyer by training, she has been involved in high-profile, strategic human rights litigation to promote women’s and children's rights.

Josh Lozman is currently chief of staff to the CEO and senior advisor on global health policy at ONE. He previously served as ONE’s U.S. policy director. Prior to joining ONE, Lozman was a policy consultant at the Center for Global Development and a grassroots coordinator for the Global Health Council. He earned his M.B.A. and M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Johns Hopkins’ Health Policy and Management department, where he is a Sommer Scholar.

Sheila Nix (moderator) is the U.S. executive director of ONE, and is responsible for ONE’s advocacy, communications, and campaign efforts in the United States. She has extensive experience in federal and state politics, and most recently was a senior vice president at the Strategy Group. Prior to her political career, Sheila was an associate at Arnold and Porter LLP.

This event is cosponsored with ONE.

The Chicago Club, 81 East Van Buren Street, Chicago, IL 60605

5:30 p.m. Registration and cash bar reception
6:00 p.m. Presentation and discussion
7:15 p.m. Adjournment

Learn more and register online at thechicagocouncil.org

President of Bread for the World on Worldview today

I want to invite you all to tune in to the program Worldview TODAY at noon on Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ 91.5). Jerome McDonnell will be talking to David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, about the 2010 Millennium Development Goals Summit. You can also listen online by going to http://www.wbez.org/Program_WV_About.aspx and clicking “Listen Now” at the top of the page. Please forward this to anyone you think will be interested!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Virtual Rally for Low-Income Tax Credits

Join the NCTC Virtual Rally for Low-income Tax Credits!

Our friends at the National Community Tax Coalition (NCTC) are trying a unique action to generate support for the EITC and CTC in Congress. They are holding a virtual rally that you can take part in. The rally simply involves a piece of paper, a camera, and your computer. Step One: Print off the “EITC and CTC Expansions Mean...” banner and fill it out. Step Two: Photograph yourself holding it up. Step Three: E-mail the photo (and the release to use it) to NCTC. They will be including the photos in state-by-state briefing books to members of Congress later this month. This is a quick, easy and creative way to show support for these important tax provisions. Also, urge your local VITA sites to participate as well. Go to NCTC’s Action page for more information on how to be a Virtual Rally Participant!


Global Fund is key to Millennium Goals by Winstone Zulu

Global Fund is key to Millennium Goals

By Winstone Zulu

When President Obama comes to the United Nations this month to discuss the Millennium Development Goals, I hope he’ll talk about the tremendous impact of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Actually, I hope he’ll do more than talk about the Global Fund’s impact. I hope… No, I pray he will announce a new three-year commitment of $6 billion that will not only allow the Global Fund to continue its life-saving work, but also expand its reach to finally turn the tide on diseases that have terrorized millions.

Without the Global Fund, much of Africa would be falling apart now, which was the case at the turn of the century when AIDS was killing off so many mothers and fathers, teachers and civil servants. In 2003, however, when Global Fund-backed programs began placing patients on antiretroviral therapy, hope was restored.

In Zambia, where I live, the difference is miraculous.

It’s hard for outsiders to fully grasp the devastation that swept across the continent in those years. Whenever I visited Lusaka, I was afraid to ask the whereabouts of people I knew. Oftentimes the answer was, “Didn’t you hear?” Nothing else needed to be said.

It wasn’t only friends and acquaintances I lost during that horrible time. All four of my brothers, their immune systems likely compromised by HIV, died from tuberculosis because they lacked access to $20 worth of antibiotics that could have cured them. They left behind over a dozen children who grew up without fathers.

The AIDS epidemic in Zambia was so bad in the mid ’90s that employers would train two people at a time for an accounting job, knowing that one would die within a year or two. The worst of it, though, was the children left orphaned. So many of them had to drop out of school and go begging in the streets for food.

This grim scene changed when the Global Fund started supporting programs that provided treatment for people with AIDS and TB.

Now when I visit a town and ask, “Where’s John?”, the answer is not “Didn’t you hear?” The response is more likely to be, “He went to Botswana for work” or “He went to South Africa to go to school.”

In short, the Global Fund stopped the terror that was literally draining the life out of our society, our culture and our economy. The Global Fund has helped deliver AIDS treatment to 2.8 million people, detected and treated 7 million cases of TB, and distributed 122 million bed nets to prevent malaria.

To deliver these results, the Global Fund created a new model of development assistance. Developing countries assess their needs and come up with their own proposals and the amount of funding needed to achieve measurable goals. An independent panel of experts evaluates proposals, and grants are awarded. Countries are then held accountable for achieving the goals in their proposals, with progress measured on a regular basis.

As we near the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, it’s clear that the Global Fund can play a decisive role in achieving the goals related to global health. In our interconnected world, these are goals that, if achieved, will lift all nations, not just the poor ones.

Last year, President Obama announced a six-year, $63 billion Global Health Initiative. Committing just $6 billion of this over the upcoming three years to the Global Fund would help ensure the success of the President’s Initiative, leverage other donor resources for the Global Fund, and help achieve some truly remarkable goals. With sufficient resources, the Global Fund can help ensure that by 2015 no children are born with HIV, malaria is no longer a public health scourge in much of Africa, and dangerous drug-resistant strains of TB are under control.

Having witnessed Zambia before and after the Global Fund, I much prefer the latter. Rather than return to those dark times, which could happen if support for the Global Fund waivers, let us usher in a new era, one where children have mothers and fathers to care for them, and a where a friend’s absence is more likely to be a cause for joy instead of sorrow.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fight Global AIDS&TB with Twitter!

Do you have a twitter account or know someone who does? Here's a really easy way to support the Global Fund. The White House is going make a decision very soon whether or not to provide our fair share to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS TB and Malaria..maybe even this week. A broad movement like this on Twitter can really show a swelling of public support for this idea to a President that understands that social media is a real force.

Please take this action from the ONE campaign...
Personally, I tweet about a lot of things: bad movies, favorite Onion articles, proud accomplishments in the world of novice cooking—but today I'm using Twitter to do something a lot more remarkable and I hope you will too.

Right now, I and thousands of others are tweeting directly to President Obama, asking him to increase support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria over the next three years. We need you to join us:

Click here to tweet!

Because of advances in science and technology, we now know how to prevent a baby from being born with HIV. And if the Global Fund gets the funding it needs over the next three years, virtually no baby will be born with HIV by 2015.

Unfortunately, the President proposed a cut to the Global Fund and we need to change his mind.

One tweet might not make a huge difference—but thousands of tweets from all across the country really can get his attention. We built a very simple tool to make it easy for you. Check it out:

Click here to tweet!

I signed up to become a ONE member back in 2005 – and for me, there are a handful of campaigns that really stand out. This Global Fund campaign is one of those.

I can't thank you enough for all you've done with ONE.

–Ginny Simmons, Deputy Director of New Media, @ONECampaign

P.S. Not on Twitter? You can still help out: just forward this email to someone you know that is on Twitter, and tell them it’s time to collect on that favor they owe you. We really appreciate it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Congress must pass a Child Nutrition bill before it expires in September!

Who is upset that the Child Nutrition Reauthorization (Known as the Health, Hunger-Free Kids Act) is paid for by cuts to SNAP (commonly known as food stamp) benefits? I am. Are you? Then, take action!

This action comes from the Greater Chicago Food Depository, but anyone in any state can send a letter like this to their elected officials using the sample letter as a guide.
Congress must pass a Child Nutrition bill before it expires in September!

With nearly one in four children at-risk of hunger, it is more critical than ever that Congress works quickly to pass a fully funded Child Nutrition Reauthorization before the current law expires in September. This reauthorization provides an opportunity to improve and strengthen these programs so they better meet the needs of our nation’s children and provide food to children when they need it the most – in the summer, after school and on weekends when children do not have access to school meals.

In early August, the Senate passed its version of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. While the Food Depository is pleased the Senate is moving forward, the Senate-passed bill does not make as robust of an investment in child nutrition programs as the originally introduced House bill makes. The Senate bill is also paid for by cuts to SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamp) benefits, nearly half of which provide food to children. This is not an acceptable child nutrition bill for the House to approve. Anti-hunger advocates across the nation, including the Greater Chicago Food Depository, are urging the House to pass its version of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization that includes substantial funding for child nutrition programs and does not include cuts to SNAP.

Please take action TODAY by urging your House members to pass its version of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization (HR 5504) before the current law expires in September!
Click here to go to the Advocacy Center

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Double your impact with the Greater Chicago Food Depository

From the Greater Chicago Food Depository...

Right now you can have twice the impact on hunger in Cook County. A generous family has agreed to double every gift we receive—up to $50,000—until Sept. 30. That means every $1 you give will be worth $2 to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
It couldn’t happen at a better time. September is Hunger Action Month—the month to take a stand against hunger in our community. And in Cook County, 1 in 8 people are turning to the Food Depository in the face of hunger. We must not let them down.

Make your gift online right now, and your generosity will go twice as far. We turn every $1 you give into four meals, but until Sept. 30, it’s eight meals!

Your matched gift will be used for programs that take food directly to hungry people in our community:

The Producemobile is a “farmer’s market on wheels.” Each week, we take fresh fruit and vegetables directly to people across Chicago. Many live in neighborhoods that have no grocery stores or produce available at all.The Mobile Pantry distributes bags of groceries each month in communities that have high concentrations of poverty. Serving working people, the program delivers food on nights and weekends, when food assistance isn’t usually available. Many families find that no matter how hard they work, it still isn’t enough. Just imagine how many families YOU can feed today.

Please act now and help reduce hunger in our community.

Kate Maehr
Chief Executive Officer
Greater Chicago Food Depository
P.S. This month, your gift has twice the hunger-fighting power. Please give what you can by Sept. 30. Because of you, someone will eat today.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Urgent need for Chicago Food Depository Volunteers

40,000 boxes in 40 days

The City of Chicago has an immediate need for 40,000 family food boxes now through mid-September. Sign up now to join us on the Flex Line with your family or community group. This task requires adults (at least 18) who are able to stand for three hours.

Each session listed needs to reach capacity, so please also encourage your friends and family to participate as individuals or put together a group.

Please go to
and click any of the sessions listed below to sign up. Additional volunteer regulations are listed with the sessions, but if you have questions, please contact Volunteer Services at 773-247-3663.

Thursday, Aug. 12: 1 to 4 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 13: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 19: 1 to 4 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 21: 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 26: 1 to 4 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 27: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 27: 1 to 4 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 2: 1 to 4 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 3: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 7: 1 to 4 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 9: 1 to 4 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 10: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 10: 1 to 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 14: 1 to 4 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 16: 1 to 4 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 17: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 18: 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Monday, July 26, 2010

House to hear testimony on MDG's tomorrow (7/27)

From Millennium Promise...
Dear Supporters of the Millennium Development Goals,

We are excited to announce that tomorrow, July 27, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs will hear testimony on the Millennium Development Goals--it is the first time Congress has ever held a hearing on the MDGs!

John McArthur, CEO, Millennium Promise will testify alongside Kathy Calvin, CEO, United Nations Foundation, and Scott Ratzan, Vice President, Global Health, Government Affairs and Policy, Johnson & Johnson.

The congressional committee wants to hear about the status of the Millennium Development Goals—the world's integrated targets to reduce extreme poverty by 2015—and discuss specifically what steps should be taken to ensure the achievement of the Goals.

You may watch a live feed of the hearing here: http://www.hcfa.house.gov/

On the bottom left-hand side of the page you’ll find the link to the live feed. The link is only put up when something is being broadcast -- there is currently a picture inserted in the corner as a placeholder where the link will appear for the live feed.

Of course, if you are in DC you are welcome to attend the hearing in person!
Video and text of the testimony will available soon on the Millennium Promise website (www.millenniumpromise.org).

Here are further details:

Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight
Russ Carnahan (D-MO), Chairman

Achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals:
Progress through Partnerships

Rayburn House Office Building
Room 2172
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
9:30 AM

John McArthur, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Millennium Promise

Ms. Kathy Calvin
Chief Executive Officer
United Nations Foundation

Scott C. Ratzan, M.D.
Vice President, Global Health, Government Affairs and Policy
Johnson & Johnson

Thank you!

--The Millennium Promise Team

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Microbicidal gel and education empower women to stay HIV free

There is exciting news in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention!

1) A promising new microbicidal gel has shown that women who used it were 39% less likely over all to contract HIV than those who used a placebo. Regular usage even reduced transmission chances by 54%!

2) A study in Malawi showed that offering impoverished girls small amounts of money for regular school attendance reduced AIDS and herpes infection. After a year and a half of the program, girls who received payments were less than half as likely to be infected than girls whose families got no payments. The girls started to have sex later, less often and with fewer partners.

What this says to me is what we have known all along. Empowering women to make their own choices...whether through education or access to health information and resources...is a key to fighting AIDS and poverty.

Here's the article in the New York Times about it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sam Daley-Harris talks Purpose, Poverty, Pitfalls and Redemption

Sam Daley-Harris is founder of RESULTS, a citizen lobby on ending global poverty, and founder of the Microcredit Summit Campaign. In May 2010 Sam gave a talk at TEDx NJ Libraries titled: “Purpose, Poverty, Pitfalls, and Redemption”. Please listen to Sam’s remarks and pass it on to friends if you enjoyed it as much as I did! Here’s the link:

Click here to see the video

FYI...Here is the link to all of the TEDx NJ Libraries talks: http://www.tedxnjlibraries.com

Friday, July 16, 2010

Is Obama Backing away from the fight against Global AIDS?

This is an interview with Dr. Paul Zeitz- the executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance, a position he's held since 2001. Over the past decade, he's led GAA to promote universal access to prevention, treatment and care, among other issues. As backlash against the Obama administration’s policies on global HIV/AIDS continues to mount, Dr. Zeitz shares his perspective with Change.org.

Click Here for the Interview

Here is an exerpt:

Q: One of President Bush’s signature acts was the creation of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) — the largest single effort any nation’s yet made to scale up HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment. PEPFAR was a major victory for activists around the globe. How has the program been impacted since Obama took office?

Back in 2008, President Bush decided that before he left office, he wanted to authorize another 5-year PEPFAR cycle. Senators Obama, Biden and Clinton all cosponsored the bill to reauthorize the bill, known as the Lantos-Hyde bill, committing the U.S. government to providing $48 billion over five years [2009-2013]. It was a truly historic act by then-president Bush to really take the initiative to the next level.

During the 2008 campaign, Obama signed a pledge committing to $50 billion for global AIDS spending for the period of 2009-2013. He also spoke at the Saddleback Church HIV/AIDS conference and verbally committed to increasing global AIDS spending by at least 1 billion per year, if he was elected.

Then he got elected, then the transition team started governing, and within 18 months, everything’s changed.

Q: Since Obama took office, what about his administration's approach have you found particularly disheartening?

We’d had breakthrough with Bush. Global leaders and stakeholders had committed themselves to universally scale up aids prevention and access to treatment. The whole global international community was in solidarity with the goal of universal access to prevention and treatment.

President Obama and his administration have taken a radically different position. It’s crystal clear that they don’t believe that HIV/AIDS treatment should be made available to everyone, because they think it’s too expensive. I’ve sat and others have sat in high-level meetings in which administration officials talking about how the U.S. government could not sustain the demands of a “treatment mortgage,” saying, “How can we afford this?”

The president has virtually flat-lined [PEPFAR] in his first two budget request. Even more shockingly, Obama has requested cuts to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, & Malaria’s FY2011 budget — this despite how effective the Global Fund’s work has been as a multilateral financing instrument. It’s achieved remarkable results, saving an estimated 4.9 million lives. The Obama administration says they’re committed to multilateralism. So why do they want to cut U.S. government support of the program?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tell Congress: No Woman Should Die During Childbirth

From Amnesty International:

The Improvements in Global Maternal and newborn health Outcomes while Maximizing Successes Act or the "Global MOMS Act" will support activities that help expand access to better quality maternal health services, remove barriers to such services, and ensure that they meet international human rights standards.

Hundreds of thousands of women die each year from pregnancy-related complications. The vast majority of these deaths are unnecessary and preventable, caused by a lack of access to timely, quality health care. These preventable deaths represent violations of essential human rights, including the right to the highest attainable standard of health and the right to freedom from discrimination based on such factors as gender, race, ethnicity, immigration status, Indigenous status or income level.

The Global MOMS Act will make a difference. In some countries, it truly could mean the difference between life and death for a woman. Please urge your Member of Congress to cosponsor this important piece of legislation - and support it when it comes to the floor of the House!

Here is a sample letter you can alter for your own handwritten letter:

Co-sponsor the Global MOMS Act!

Dear Representative,

I am writing to urge you to co-sponsor the Improvements in Global Maternal and newborn health Outcomes while Maximizing Successes Act, or the “Global MOMS Act”. Hundreds of thousands of women die each year from pregnancy-related complications. The vast majority of these deaths are unnecessary and preventable, caused by a lack of access to timely, quality health care. These preventable deaths represent violations of essential human rights, including the right to the highest attainable standard of health and the right to freedom from discrimination based on such factors as gender, race, ethnicity, immigration status, Indigenous status or income level. The Global MOMS Act will support activities that help expand access to better quality maternal health services, remove barriers to such services, and ensure that they meet international human rights standards.

As your constituent, I am asking you to co-sponsor the Global MOMS Act and support it once it comes to the House floor.

Women dying in pregnancy and childbirth is not just a public health emergency, it is also a human rights crisis. Amnesty International has identified obstacles to lifesaving treatment faced by pregnant women around the world. In Peru, poor, rural and indigenous women face language barriers and too few accessible clinics. In Burkina Faso, women die because they cannot reach a health facility capable of treating them or because they arrive too late. In Sierra Leone, pregnant mothers are dying because they are too poor to pay for the treatment they require to save their lives. The United States has an important role to play in supporting developing countries in developing and implementing plans to reduce maternal deaths.

The Global MOMS Act will make a difference. It supports:

-The development of a strategy as part of the Global Health Initiative to reduce mortality and improve maternal and newborn health;

-Improved coordination among U.S. government agencies and existing programs that are currently working to reduce maternal and newborn mortality; and

-Authorization of assistance in proven interventions including family planning, access to skilled care at birth and training professionals in emergency obstetric care.

Two years ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution affirming “commitment to promoting maternal health and child survival both at home and abroad through greater international investment and participation” (H.Res.1022 in the 110th Congress). This new bill is an opportunity to match commitment with action. Please make a difference in the lives of millions of pregnant women and co-sponsor the Global MOMS Act.

[Your name]

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Haiti, Global Health and Rep. Jan Schakowsky

From RESULTS in Chicago...
The Chicago-area RESULTS groups invite you to attend a special event in Evanston on Sunday May 23 from 4-6PM featuring Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky to benefit RESULTS Educational Fund and Partners in Health (PIH). The afternoon will have a focus on Haiti and include inspiring speakers, light refreshments and a fantastic silent auction.

RESULTS is a grassroots advocacy group working to end hunger and poverty in the U.S. and around the world. PIH provides health care in impoverished nations and is committed to long-term efforts in Haiti. Representative Schakowksy, Ann Clark from PIH, and Cynthia Changyit Levin (RESULTS) will highlight how aid organizations, Congress, and everyday people work together to fight poverty. We'll also hear an update on the post-earthquake situation in Haiti.

Admission and silent auction proceeds will benefit RESULTS Educational Fund and a voluntary financial appeal will be made for PIH after the speaking program.

$25 pre-registration online
$35 at door
Students are welcome for $15 with a valid student ID (online or at the door)

See details below and please visit http://resultschicago.ning.com/events/2010-results-fundraiser to purchase admission on-line.

We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Political Change with Pen and Paper

A short and highly entertaining watch about why HANDWRITTEN, MONTHLY letters to elected officials actually work.

For those wondering why RESULTS activists still do letter writing at many of their meetings across the country-- this video offers some insights on their power along with funny animal analogies. An elected official tells us why emails and phone calls still are not nearly as effective as the handwritten letter.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Call-in Action for Child Hunger

An action about Child Hunger from Bread for the World
URGENT: Call 1-800-826-368 Today to tell your U.S. representative to support an additional $1 billion per year for child nutrition reauthorization.

Dear Friend,

We urgently need your help this week to convince your U.S. representative to allocate $1 billion a year in new investments for nutrition programs for our children.

So far, the Senate Agriculture Committee passed their version of the Child Nutrition Bill at $450 million annually. We now have to convince the House Education and Labor Committee, which is drafting its version of the Child Nutrition Bill, to find the full $1 billion requested by President Obama.

Today, nearly one in four children in the United States is at risk of hunger, while one in three is obese and overweight. We need adequate funding from Congress—at least $1 billion annually in the next five years—to reverse these trends.

The Child Nutrition Bill will strengthen programs such as school lunches, school breakfasts, summer feeding programs, and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. These are critical in protecting children from hunger and in improving their nutrition. Under current funding, far too many eligible children are not being served. Of the 19.4 million low-income children receiving lunch assistance each school day, only 46 percent receive breakfast assistance and just 11 percent have access to summer food programs.

Representatives James P. McGovern (D-3/MA) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-8/MO) are circulating a letter to their colleagues to show Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-7/CA) that a majority of the House supports a strong child nutrition reauthorization. As of last week, we have 116 signatures but we need at least 218. We only have until noon on Friday, April 30, to get 100 more signatures. Can you make a quick call to help us reach our goal?

Message and Key Points:

Please call your U.S. representative at 1-800-826-3688 by noon, Friday, April 30.

Tell your representative: Please sign onto the Dear Colleague letter being circulated by Reps. McGovern and Emerson in support of an additional $1 billion per year for child nutrition reauthorization.

You can explain your message by adding any or all of these points:

The House Education and Labor Committee will write a child nutrition bill soon. I want you to make sure that at least $1 billion in new funding is provided to strengthen child nutrition programs.
With nearly a quarter of America’s children struggling against hunger and one-third obese or overweight, the time for strong action is now. At least $1 billion per year in new investments in child nutrition programs is needed to reverse these staggering rates.
Child nutrition programs could do far more to reduce hunger and improve nutrition simply by reaching more eligible children. For every 100 children receiving lunch assistance each school day, less than half receive breakfast assistance and only 11 percent access summer food programs.
Thank you for your voice and your support.

Grace and peace.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Education for All Act of 2010 introduced!

Just in time for Global Education Action week, Congress took action on Global Education. Cool!

Reps Nita Lowey (D) and David Reichert (R) introduced HR 5117,the Education for All Act of 2010, calling on the United States to be a leading voice in the call to action for access to basic education for the world's children. The bill seeks to ensure the U.S. provides the resources and leadership to ensure a successful international effort to provide all children with a quality basic education by 2015.

The EFA Act lays out U.S. policy that includes: 1) working with other countries, international organizations, and civil society to assist developing countries and strengthen their educational systems, 2) assisting NGOs and multilateral organizations, and promote education as the foundation for community development.

Please ask your representative to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation for Global Education. You can visit
this link from RESULTS to take action!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Call in to help the Working Poor: Bread for the World

A Call-in Action from Bread for the World:

Our country is focused on taxes this week, so let’s make sure that when Congress works on tax policy, the needs of low-income people aren’t forgotten.

Please call your senators and representative at 1-800-826-3688 by 5 p.m., Friday, April 16, and urge them to protect and strengthen key tax credits — the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit.

These tax credits make a big difference for low-income workers and their families.

(Note: This toll-free number will connect you to the Capitol switchboard. Please ask for your senators’ and representative's offices so you can leave your message.)

Explain your message further by adding either or both of these points:

The EITC and CTC are critical to helping working families make ends meet and feed their families. The costs of basic needs have risen while wages have remained largely stagnant.

If Congress does not act to extend the most recent expansions to the EITC and CTC made in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009:
-7 million low-income people could lose EITC benefits
- 6 million children will lose the CTC benefit completely, and 10 million children will receive a smaller credit
- More than 1.5 million people -- including nearly 800,000 children -- will fall back into poverty.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

2010 Fundraiser for RESULTS/Partners in Health May 23 in Evanston

The afternoon of Sunday May 23, 2010, the Chicago-area RESULTS groups will host an event to benefit both RESULTS and Partners in Health.

Featured speakers, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Ann Clark from Partners in Health, will help us highlight how aid organizations (like PIH), members of Congress (like Rep Schakowksy) and everyday people (like YOU) can work together to end poverty in Haiti and around the world.

Silent auction will include items like a stay in a wooded cabin, passes to Make-A-Messterpiece, ComedySportz classes, "Three Cups of Tea" and "Stones Into Schools" by Greg Mortenson, artwork, lunch with State Senator Shoenberg, and more.

When: Sunday, MAy 23 4-6PM
Where: First United Methodist Church, 516 Church St, Evanston, IL
Cost:$25 on-line purchase/$35 at door/$15 for students with valid student ID

Tickets will be on sale soon! Watch for updates at www.RESULTSChicago.ning.com

Note: Admission and silent auction will benefit RESULTS Educational Fund. A direct financial appeal will be made for Partners in Health after the speaking program.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Steps to Advance the World's Women (by Nicholas Kristof)

A few insightful suggestions from Nicholas Kristof for International Women's Day! Here are excerpts. The entire article can be read in the New York Times here.

March 8, 2010, 10:30 AM
Three Proven Steps to Advance the World’s Women, on International Women’s Day

"First, I think girls’ education may be the single most cost-effective kind of aid work. It’s cheap, it opens minds, it gives girls new career opportunities and ways to generate cash, it leads them to have fewer children and invest more in those children, and it tends to bring women from the shadows into the formal economy and society...."

"Second, I’d argue for deworming and micronutrients. These may not sound like they’re “women’s issues,” but in a sense they are. For example, iodine deficiency particularly affects female fetuses, for reasons that we don’t fully understand. Insufficient iodine in the first trimester of pregnancy costs that child 10 to 15 I.Q. points for the rest of his or her life, and yet iodized salt programs that prevent the problem cost less than 5 cents per person reached...."

"Third, we need more support for women starting businesses. These can be microsavings and microlending programs, or training in entrepreneurship. BRAC and Grameen have done great work in this area, as has Injaz in the Middle East. Such programs lead women to bring in incomes, and that gives them more weight in the home and society. Moreover, they tend to invest the income in their children, so there’s a broader effect in fighting poverty."

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Save This Date! Chicago RESULTS Fundraiser – May 23, 2010

Chicago RESULTS Fundraiser – May 23, 2010

Mark your calendars for the afternoon of Sunday May 23, 2010 when the Chicago-area RESULTS groups will be hosting an event in Evanston to raise funds and promote poverty awareness. The featured speaker will be Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.

Tickets will be on sale later this month. Watch for updates on email, Facebook, and RESULTS Chicago web site: http://resultschicago.ning.com/

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Confronting poverty can aid in solving other problems

Op-ed about how long-term poverty fighting and advocacy can help in disaster situations like Haiti. From the Morton Grove Champion...

Guest Essay: Confronting poverty can aid in solving other problems
March 1, 2010
By CYNTHIA CHANGYIT LEVIN Contributing Columnist
Over a month has passed since the earthquake in Haiti and still the horrific images linger in our minds: A child's legs extending from the rubble of a collapsed school, wandering crowds needing water and medical aid trucks stacked full of bodies. Massive destruction put a spotlight on the desperate troubles of Haiti. Generous people around the world saw and responded by opening their hearts and wallets. In my neighborhood, we donated money and even our shoes. We collected health care items for Haitians and victims of future emergencies. Yet after donations have been made and prayers have been said, we still wonder what more we can do.

The first step to giving real, lasting help is to understand that Haiti's long history of poverty is what makes the current crisis so terrible. The effects of the catastrophe are worsened by a situation that existed long before the earthquake. Haiti is the same country where shocking stories emerged in 2008 about nursing mothers eating mud to slack their hunger.

When countries languish for years in abject poverty, any crisis -- an earthquake, a hurricane, or a tsunami -- will cause much more widespread suffering than if it happened in a wealthy nation. The population doesn't have simple advantages that developed nations take for granted. For instance, before the earthquake only 50 percent of Haitian children had received vaccinations. Now, diseases spread rapidly through crowded shelters without proper sanitation.

Haiti was already part of an everyday global tragedy that is mostly unseen. We are shocked by news of more than 200,000 earthquake-related deaths. Yet we rarely notice nine million children under five dying worldwide each year from treatable or preventable causes, mostly in impoverished nations.

We can work to prevent the daily disaster of people dying of poverty-related causes and, as a result, help countries like Haiti be better prepared for a natural disaster. U.N. Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon referred to our responsibility to the world's poorest people when he stated, Haiti's plight is a reminder of our wider responsibilities.

To aid the future of Haiti and other developing nations, we can speak to our members of Congress about issues like debt relief, basic education, global health, and effective use of foreign aid. It sounds complicated, but advocacy really boils down to saying that children need school, people need food, money should be used responsibly and where you're born shouldn't determine whether you live or die.

Seeking out reputable, nonpartisan advocacy organizations is a simple way to start. In the Chicago area, national organizations like RESULTS, Bread for the World, and the ONE Campaign reach out to Illinois senators and representatives on behalf of people living in poverty. Each has a Web site tailor-made to make advocating as easy as clicking a mouse or making a two-minute phone call. Their local volunteers are everyday people who band together to channel the frustration, anger, and sorrow they feel into useful action.

Advocacy organizations are playing a significant role in Haiti's recovery. Within days of the earthquake, anti-poverty activists worked to relieve Haiti of its crippling debt -- freeing up resources that could be used to feed its starving population. Thousands of regular folk clicked on-line petitions or called to urge Congress to help drop the debt. In response to the massive outpouring of public will, congressional leaders now plan to introduce legislation requiring the U.S. use its considerable influence to ensure all of Haiti's debt is canceled. Tremendous progress can be made when people realize there are solutions and act on them.

Before the spotlight fades on Haiti, remember that it was poverty that made the situation so extreme. We can't predict where then next major disaster is going to occur, but our actions can help equip impoverished nations to be better prepared to weather the next crisis.

Cynthia Changyit Levin, of Morton Grove, is a grassroots board member of RESULTS Educational Fund. She is also the local leader for the RESULTS Chicago-Evanston group, which advocates on issues of global poverty.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Half the Sky Live, March 4

Gather some friends and get out to see this event!!!

Half the Sky Live
Thursday, March 4, 7:30PM
Theatres across the U.S

It's more than a movie, it's a movement that is changing the world one woman at a time! HALF THE SKY LIVE, a one-night-only event on March 4, 2010, in theatres nationwide. With music, celebrity guests and the premiere of a remarkable new film, Woineshet, by Marisa Tomei and Lisa Leone. HALF THE SKY is a celebration of women! Youll be inspired to join the movement to help women and girls turn oppression into opportunity. HALF THE SKY LIVE is inspired by The New York Times bestseller, Half the Sky, by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Visit http://www.halftheskylive.com for participating theatres and ticket information.

Click here for tickets and theatre information http://www.ncm.com/Fathom/OriginalPrograms/event/Half_The_Sky.aspx

Friday, February 5, 2010

Geithner Responds to Congress letter about Haiti debt!

Great news from RESULTS!!!
Hi Folks – so often it can take months, years and even decades to see the results of our advocacy… and sometimes it takes a couple of days.

Following the receipt of the Waters/Ros-Lehtinen letter with 94 signatures – including Financial Services Chair Barney Frank and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer – Secretary Geithner announced today that he will work to eliminate all of Haiti’s debt and provide any further assistance in the form of grants. We were hearing nothing from the White House on its intentions, so this is a huge shift. Most of Haiti’s remaining debt is owed to multilateral institutions like the IMF and IDB, so this doesn’t guarantee that the debt will be cancelled, but having the full support of the U.S. is absolutely critical and a real turning point.

Thanks again for you work on this letter. In thanking your members for signing, you can let them know this had a real impact. The press release from Treasury is pasted below.


94 Reps Signed IMF Letter to Cancel Haiti's Debt!

Congratulations: 94 Representatives Signed the House IMF Letter to Cancel Haiti's Debt!

Responding to the urgent humanitarian crisis in Haiti, Representatives Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) are sending a message that Haiti's debt must be cancelled.

Last week the IMF approved an emergency $100 million loan, adding to the $165 million already owed by Haiti to the Fund. Haiti owes an additional $447 million to the Inter-American Development Bank, and tens of millions to other institutions. As an influential member of these multilateral organizations, the U.S. will be critical in ensuring Haiti's debt will be canceled.

Representatives Waters and Ros-Lehtinen have sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner urging him to work to immediately suspend Haiti's debt payments, cancel any existing or newly incurred debt, and provide further assistance in the form of grants rather than debt-creating loans. Thanks in part to the efforts of RESULTS activists, so far 94 members of Congress have signed this letter, including IL reps Davis, Guiterrez, Jackson Jr, Quigley, Rush, Schakowksy.

We'll be watching to see if this strong message from Congress is heeded by the administration.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Help get ONE on the Colbert Report

A new website campaign has been launched to try to get the "Colbert Bump" for a ONE activist who is running for Congress in New Hampshire. Michael Castaldo is a highly respected activist for the ONE campaign who lobbies in many ways from writing letters-to-the-editor and op-eds to bird dogging candidates in town hall meetings to raise awareness and get action on global poverty issues. He is also now running as a republican candidate for U.S. Representative.

Castaldo is the famous ONE activist who travelled all over his state to personally give ONE bracelets to every presidential primary candidate in the last presidential election. He got his picture with every one of them and spoke to them on behalf of people living in extreme poverty.

And now he's got his own viral campaign going to get him on the Colbert Report. His friends who are grassroots anti-poverty activists and fans of Stephen Colbert's show think that he's got an interesting story to tell and want to see him wearing the ONE band, talking about global poverty on to the Colbert Nation. Colbert's character is known for liking to give the "Colbert Bump" by endorsing candidates that fit his interests. Given that Castaldo is a republican, ex-marine, and a chef, he certainly does seem to embody some of Colbert's favorite things. Now if only he were a speedskater, too...

Here is the website that gives information on how to tell Colbert that Castaldo should be on the show:
Colbert Bump for Castaldo site

From the "Get the Colbert Bump for Castaldo" site.....


Michael Castaldo is one of the most interesting congressional candidates running for U.S. Representative this year. He would be a perfect interview for the Colbert Report. Stephen Colbert's on-air persona loves the armed services, food, the Republican party, and kingmaking. Mike is an ex-marine, a chef and a Republican candidate who would appreciate receiving the Colbert Bump.

Mike is also a strong advocate for people living in poverty. As a key activist for the ONE campaign, he presented the white ONE bracelet to many presidential candidates on the trail through New Hampshire. An appearance on The Colbert Report would give him the chance to flash that poverty-awareness accessory himself and bring issues like foreign aid reform, debt relief, and global health to a national audience.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Advocacy Actions for Haiti

Many people are wondering..now that we have donated money for Haiti, what more can we do? My answer...advocate for Haiti.

The most direct advocacy help at this time is to focus on debt relief for Haiti. I'm not an expert in debt relief, but I'll take a crack at it and if you see something I say isn't right, please correct me in the comment section. The basic concept of debt relief is this: When a country is so impoverished that it can’t help its people get the basic human needs, if it carries debt on the order of $100M or more, there’s very little hope of recovering that debt. If it is pressured to pay it back, there is very little hope of the people or the country being able to work themselves out of poverty if they have no food, water, health care, education, etc. Haiti is exactly in this situation with $165M debt.

An aspect of this specific to Haiti is the form of emergency aid that Haiti is getting. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) approved a $102M loan for Haiti…not a grant as advocates pushed for. The IMF argues that the loans are much faster to approve than grants and notes that the loans are interest-free.

Many advocacy groups are working to get this debt cancelled especially in light of the earthquake damage. Some good news is that the US (as I understand it) already forgave Haiti it's debt before the earthquake. I think I heard Venezuela is doing the same now.

Here's a summary what has been done by advocacy groups in the US recently:
The ONE campaign sent out an emergency petition via email and delivered more than 150,000 signatures to the IMF to drop Haiti's debt. Several orgs are urging Tim Geithner, Sec of Treasury, to use his influence on the IMF. The orgs were successful in convincing a Rep Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) to circulate a letter around the House of Representatives to go to Geithner saying the same thing.

Here's what you can do. Follow this link and call your Representative and urge them to sign onto the letter to Geithner. The deadline is THE END OF THE BUSINESS DAY IN DC ON MONDAY.

If you're still asking "What else?" I encourage you to take action to support a Global Fund for Education here . You can write to your reps and senators about this, too, using the language from the link. You can also tell your reps and senators to help any efforts to provide our fair share of funding to the Global Fund for Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. It is precisely because Haiti was so impoverished before the quake that it's situation is so dire now. By supporting the creation of an education fund and supporting the health fund in place, other places like Haiti can stand a chance of lifting themselves out of extreme poverty before a tsunami, war, earthquake or other disaster strikes.

Monday, January 25, 2010

2010 Chicago Snuggie Pub Crawl supports orphans in Tanzania

Dear Snuggie Pub Crawlers,

With the 2010 Snuggie Pub Crawl just a few months away, we're really excited to announce early bird ticket sales to our email list!!

This event was a tremendous success last year, raising nearly $20,000 for the AC Orphanage in Tanzania. Thanks to you we have supplied, food, water, medicine and other self sustaining projects to the AC Orphanage with the funds raised from the event. We are currently involved in a project to build a much needed drinking well to be shared by two orphanages in Tanzania. We look forward to seeing you on April 10th!

Tickets are NOW ON SALE!

Tickets are now available for $18 before February 15th, $22 after February 15th and $25 at the door (if we have any left). We will only be selling 2500 tickets to this event.

We've worked hard with the participating bars, liquor and beer providers and we're proud to say that we've secured the following:

$2 Bud Light, Budweiser, Bud Select
$3 Well Drink Specials
$5 Bacardi Bombs
$2 Shots For Tots - Bacardi Torched Cherry Shots!
Raffles/Prizes- VIP Lollapalooza, Lollapalooza, Blackhawks, Cubs Tickets and more!
Live Music
Opening/Closing Ceremonies at Lions Head Pub / Apartment - starts at 7:30pm
BYOS - Bring Your Own Snuggie

This is a Bring Your Own Snuggie event. You must wear a Snuggie or blanket with sleeves to this event. We encourage decorating, modifying and imagination! There will be prizes for most original Snuggie!

Event Details

April 10th from 12:00pm - 8:00pm
Registration starts at 10:30 at Lions Head Pub at 2251 N. Lincoln - Arrive Early!
Tickets are required for admission
Ages 21 and up, photo I.D. required for admission
Peep Photos from last years event - http://www.flickr.com/groups/snuggiepubcrawl/
Visit www.SnuggiePubCrawl.com for additional details about the Snuggie Pub Crawl in Chicago. See you all on April 10th!

The Fate Monkey Team

This event is being put on by Fate Monkey Inc, SnuggiePubCrawl.com is owned and operated by Fate Monkey Inc.

Fate Monkey, Inc.
2040 N. Racine Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614

Friday, January 22, 2010

Disease now the big threat in Haiti

From a friend at Global Action for Children...
A new threat is looming large in Haiti.

As if the immediate deaths from the earthquake were not enough, now the growing risk of infectious disease threatens to take more lives in Haiti. Infections like diarrhea, pneumonia and measles flourish in places with unsanitary conditions, lack of access to clean drinking water and increased exposure to the elements—places like Haiti today.

Tragically, it is the children of Haiti who are most seriously affected by these age old killers. Before the earthquake only 50 percent of Haitian children were vaccinated against these preventable diseases, so now in its aftermath, the likelihood of their emergence is even greater.

The good news is, we know how to stop more childhood killers than ever before. In this last year alone, two new vaccines were introduced to prevent deaths from the biggest child killers of all—diarrhea and pneumonia. Globally, these two diseases are responsible for over 3.5 million deaths each year.

Vaccines have both short- and long-term ramifications for children and their communities. Today, vaccines can avert thousands of needless child deaths during this time of crisis. And long into the future, vaccines will give Haiti’s children the chance to remain healthy, stay in school, live longer and contribute to their community. In short, vaccines are the smart start to help Haiti re-grow.

As the aid continues to roll into Haiti we cannot forget these killers that are lurking in the background waiting to emerge. We must ensure that everything is done to provide the children of Haiti with the medicines and vaccines they need to grow, thrive and rebuild their country.

Stacy Carkonen
National Field Director
Global Action for Children
(206) 715.4986

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Haiti: an advocacy action

Please read the following message from the ONE campaign to learn how your advocacy has a role in the recent Haitian crisis to try to drop the debt of Haiti and ease the burden of its struggling population.

Click here for "Drop Haitian Debt"
The harrowing images and stories coming out of Haiti are devastating to watch. The incredible outpouring of concern, aid and assistance coming from the United States and all over the world offers hope, but for many of us the question lingers: “What else can I do?”

One way we can help Haitians build a better tomorrow is to convince global creditors to cancel Haiti’s $890 million international debt. Doing so will help make sure that every possible future dollar goes towards rebuilding a stronger Haiti, not to servicing old debts.

Thankfully, the United States has already forgiven Haiti’s past debts and now only gives assistance in the form of grants. We need Haiti’s other creditors—the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and countries like Taiwan and Venezuela—to follow our lead and do the same.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has the power to help make that happen. Please click the link below to join me and send Secretary Geithner this urgent message:

Drop the Haitian Debt!

As Haiti rebuilds from this disaster, please work to secure the immediate cancellation of Haiti’s $890 million debt and ensure that any emergency earthquake assistance is provided in the forms of grants, not debt-incurring loans.

Even before the earthquake hit, Haiti—the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere—faced tremendous challenges. But there was also hope. Recent years have brought a more stable government and tenuous gains in the fight against poverty.

Haiti needs an international effort to make sure that, as it begins the long road to recovery, it is not burdened with unpayable debts. We must also be vigilant that any new aid from the IMF and other sources doesn’t come in the form of loans that would create new debt for Haiti.

It all starts by calling on Secretary Geithner to use his influence to persuade international lending institutions and countries to do the right thing and drop Haiti’s debt.

Take action now:

Thank you,

Sheila Nix
U.S. Executive Director, ONE

Friday, January 15, 2010

Making a Difference

Ever wonder what you might say to today's Youth if given an opportunity? I was caught a bit off guard when I was asked to speak to a remarkable young woman on the day of her Bat Mitzvah about Making a Difference. I didn't know what to say, but when I finished, I think I really did manage to boil down my beliefs into a succinct message, so I share it with you here.



Good job! Congratulations on your Bat Mitzvah and regarding your Bat Mitzvah project…Well Done!

I’ve been asked to say some words about “Make a Difference.” Let me start by saying that you are off to a great start.
You are already an outstanding person and just by being you, you have and will have a positive impact on people around you…like your mom and me.

But I wouldn’t be doing my job as one of your elders if I didn’t encourage you and challenge you to continue the harder job to make a real difference to people you don’t know, to you community, the world and even to yourself.

So, I have 3 pieces of advice to offer you today.

First, be intentional about making a difference. Helping and giving and serving, fighting for what’s right and healing our broken world…these are all things we have to be intentional about or they easily fall by the wayside.

Second, Think Big. Don’t think for a minute that you can’t have tremendous impact. It can be from merely showing a kindness to one person who needs it just at that moment. Or you might join with others to further a cause that has been years in the making that will change the course of history. At the same time, don’t be overwhelmed to inaction. Most people are.

It’s probably not common for people to quote catholic nuns at Bat Mitzvah luncheons, but…Mother Teresa said "If you can't feed 100 people, then feed just one" and I think message transcends religions. Don’t let the magnitude of the task or your own self-doubt stop you from taking action.

Lastly, and I think most importantly, Get Personal. Be generous with your time and talents, not just your money. (This will make more sense later when you’re making money) It will help you find your gifts and build on them and find what it is that only you can do. At any given moment…because of who you are or where you happen to be (figuratively or maybe even literally where you’re standing) there’s something for which you are the best person for the job. And my wish for you is that you are going to be able to seize those moments and act on them. Believe me, you’re not going to catch all of them 100% of the time, but when it happens, that’s when you make the biggest difference- for others and for yourself. That makes for days that really count.

I’ve talked in nice vague ways about “taking action” and never once gave you a good solid suggestion for what kind of differences exactly that you should be making. That’s because…I don’t know. And neither does anyone else. This is for you, and only you, to figure out. You’re an adult now in your congregation and this is one of your adult decisions.

But I can leave you with some words that are helpful to me to point me to my path. Buckminster Fuller, American philosopher and futurist, said…

“The Things to do are: the things that need doing, that you see need to be done, and that no one else seems to see need to be done.”

That’s a little complicated so I’ll say it again and maybe text it to you later.

So, go…keep making a difference as you already have. Mazel Tov!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Donate to Partners in Health to help Haitian Earthquake victims

Several people have asked for my recommendations for where to donate to help with the earthquake disaster in Haiti. There are many great orgs doing heroic work (Red Cross, UNICEF and Oxfam come to mind), yet because this happened in Haiti in particular, I ask you to consider making a generous donation to Partners in Health.

Partners in Health provides medical care and social services to people in extreme poverty, especially in Haiti which is their flagship project. For many years, they have had hospitals and highly trained medical staff in place there working with a highly successful community-based model. PIH is right now bring medical assistance to areas that have been hardest hit. Because of their position and relationships there, I believe they are extremely well qualified to provide immediate and quality assistance to Haiti. Their founder, Paul Farmer, is the author of Mountains Beyond Mountains and is a powerful advocate for Global Health.

Please donate to Partners in Health

Read on to see a message from their Executive Director:

A major earthquake centered just 10 miles from Port-au-Prince has devastated sections of the city and knocked out telephone communications throughout the country. Reached via email, Partners In Health staff at our facilities in the Central Plateau report that they experienced a strong shock but no major damage or injuries. We are still attempting to establish contact with other PIH facilities and to locate several staff members who were traveling in and around Port-au-Prince.

In an urgent email from Port-au-Prince, Louise Ivers, our clinical director in Haiti, appealed for assistance from her colleagues in the Central Plateau: "Port-au-Prince is devastated, lot of deaths. SOS. SOS... Temporary field hospital by us at UNDP needs supplies, pain meds, bandages. Please help us."

Donate now to support our earthquake relief efforts

The earthquake has destroyed much of the already fragile and overburdened infrastructure in the most densely populated part of the country. A massive and immediate international response is needed to provide food, water, shelter, and medical supplies for tens of thousands of people.

With our hospitals and our highly trained medical staff in place in Haiti, Partners In Health is already mobilizing resources and preparing plans to bring medical assistance and supplies to areas that have been hardest hit.

Both our teams in Boston and Haiti are already mobilizing to deliver resources as quickly as possible to the places where they are needed most.

Donate now to support our earthquake relief efforts

Thank you for your solidarity during this crisis,

Ophelia Dahl
Executive Director - Partners in Health

Monday, January 11, 2010

Roger Thurow, author of "Enough", in Chicago

The World Beyond the Headlines is a public lecture series is a collaborative project with the University of Chicago Center for International Studies, the Seminary Coop Bookstores, and the International Global Voices Program with support from the McCormick Foundation. The program brings scholars and journalists together to consider major international news stories and how these stories are covered.

This is a FREE public lecture series at the International House (1414 East 59th Street) on the University of Chicago Campus. Roger Thurow will be appearing there. He is one of the author's of "Enough: Why the World's Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty" which is a must-read for anti-poverty advocates!

Wed, March 3
Roger Thurow, Enough: Why the World's Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty
For more than thirty years, humankind has known how to grow enough food to end chronic hunger worldwide. Yet while the “Green Revolution” succeeded in South America and Asia, it never reached Africa. More than nine million people every year die of hunger, malnutrition, and related diseases every year—most of them in Africa and most of them children. More die of hunger in Africa than from AIDS and malaria combined. Now, an impending global food crisis threatens to make things worse. In the West we think of famine as a natural disaster, brought about by drought or as the legacy of brutal dictators. But in this powerful investigative narrative, Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman show exactly how, in the past few decades, American, British, and European self-interest and neglect have left Africa unable to feed itself. As a new generation of activists work to stop famine from spreading, Enough is essential reading on a humanitarian issue of utmost urgency. Co-sponsored by the Center for International Studies, the Program on the Global Environment and the Seminary Co-op Bookstores.
This event is free and open to the public.
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm, Home Room