Sumner M. Redstone Foundation Donates $1.5 Million to the Global Poverty Project
NEW YORK, Aug. 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The Global Poverty Project announced today that the Sumner M. Redstone Foundation has donated $1.5 million to further its mission of eradicating extreme poverty. Mr. Redstone is the Executive Chairman of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corporation.
The Redstone Foundation contribution will support the Global Poverty Project’s “End of Polio Campaign,” dedicated to building global support for polio eradication. The Foundation gift will also support the Global Poverty Project’s Endowment Fund, furthering the Global Poverty Project’s long-term vision of eradicating extreme poverty through campaigns for global health, fair trade and good governance.
Mr. Redstone said, “I am proud to support the work of the Global Poverty Project and its campaign to finally put an end to polio. The progress that has already been made in fighting this debilitating disease is evidence of what can be achieved through global collaboration. By joining forces and focusing our resources, we can finally end polio and find a path to the eradication of extreme poverty. I hope others will heed the call and join me in this vitally important mission.”
Hugh Evans, CEO of the Global Poverty Project, said, “The eradication of preventable diseases like polio is essential in the fight against extreme poverty. Diseases like polio pull vulnerable people deeper into the cycle of poverty, threatening their access to basics like food, water, education, and their ability to earn a living.
“We have a monumental opportunity. Global collaboration over the past 20 years has delivered incredible progress in the fight against polio,” added Mr. Evans. “Cases have been reduced by 99%, more than 2 billion children have been immunized, and polio is only endemic in just four countries. Eradication is within our reach.”
“We’re thrilled to be adding powerful new champions for vaccines,” said Rajeev Venkayya, director of vaccine delivery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is also a major funder of the Global Poverty Project. “Sumner Redstone’s extraordinary investment combined with the innovation of the Global Poverty Project will bring us a step closer to a world free from polio.”
The opportunity to end polio prompted Evans’ Global Poverty Project to launch its education and advocacy campaign. Working with Rotary International, UNICEF, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the CDC, The World Health Organization and other partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the organization hopes to raise awareness about polio eradication on the public agenda and to gain the commitment and backing of world leaders.
The campaign has also benefitted from the support of prominent celebrities and business leaders, including Hollywood actor Hugh Jackman, Bill and Melinda Gates and former Rotary International president, Sir Clem Renouf.
With cases down by 99% and eradication within reach, the largest ever gathering of Commonwealth Leaders will take place in Perth, Australia, from October 28th to October 30th, 2011. Evans and the Global Poverty Project team are working to secure funding to raise awareness and put this issue on the agenda.
“Our generation could realize an end to the second human disease in history and ensure no child ever again has to fear the effects of polio,” says Evans. “This is a defining achievement for humanity and one with profound historical benefits. We can’t let it slip away.”
Over the last several years, Mr. Redstone has designated more than $100 million in charitable grants to fund initiatives in the U.S. and abroad. He has funded the establishment of the Cambodian Children’s Fund child rescue center along with research and patient care advancements in cancer, burn recovery and mental health at several major non-profit healthcare organizations. Many of his major gifts have been focused on encouraging the acceleration of basic research into clinical trials and, ultimately, to individuals and their families. In addition to the Global Poverty Project, Mr. Redstone has supported such internationally recognized programs as Autism Speaks, FasterCures/The Center for Accelerating Medical Solutions, based in Washington D.C.; the prostate cancer research of Dr. David Agus at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine; and the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
Note to Editors:
ABOUT HUGH EVANS
Hugh Evans’ passion for poverty eradication was sparked at the age of 14 whilst on World Vision trip to the Philippines. Living with his host family in a Manila Slum, Hugh was struck by his luck in the lottery of life. It was by pure chance that he was born into a thriving safe community and his friend Sonny Boy, from the Manila slum, was born into a situation where he lacked basic choices and the opportunities that most people would take for granted.
The abject poverty Hugh was exposed to Manila, and his experiences in India the following year led him to begin his work challenging the status quo of extreme poverty. After a trip to South Africa in 2002 as World Vision’s inaugural Youth Ambassador, Hugh co-founded the Oaktree Foundation; Australia’s first youth run aid organization, with a mission of ‘young people working together to end global poverty’. Since 2003, Oaktree has helped fund development projects in the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, India, Ghana and East Timor, providing educational opportunities to more than 40,000 young people, many for the first time.
Hugh then began working to grow the Make Poverty History campaign in Australia helping run the 2006 Make Poverty History Concert fronted by U2 singer Bono and the 2007 Make Poverty History Roadtrip, which saw campaign images projected onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House. The impact of these campaigns were later credited with playing a key role in the Government’s decision to increase its committed foreign aid budget from 0.3 of Gross National Income by 2015 to 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income by 2015, resulting in an additional $4.3 billion per annum invested in the world’s poorest.
In 2008, with a grant from the UN, AusAid and DFID, Hugh continued to build his impact in the aid and development sector, co-founding the Global Poverty Project. An innovative and dynamic education and advocacy organization committed to increasing the number and effectiveness of individuals taking action to end extreme poverty. The Project launched in Australia in 2009 and has since expanded to New Zealand, the United Kingdom and USA. In 2010 it helped launch the million dollar fundraising campaign Live Below the Line.
GLOBAL POVERTY PROJECT
The Global Poverty Project is an international education and advocacy organization working to catalyze the movement to end extreme poverty. An Australian grown project, we exist to increase the number and effectiveness of people taking action to end extreme poverty, with the vision of a world without extreme poverty, within a generation.
The Project focuses on communicating development issues and enabling action in the general public. We use our world-class multimedia presentation 1.4 Billion Reasons to raise awareness of our opportunity to end extreme poverty within a generation, and the simple every day actions that people can take to contribute to the end of extreme poverty. Our simple, yet effective education tools and advocacy campaigns are used in workplaces, schools, universities, churches and communities around the country to inspire and empower Australians to become leaders in the global movement to end extreme poverty.
GLOBAL POLIO ERADICATION INITIATIVE
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative was set up in 1988. It is a public-private partnership led by national governments and spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.
SOURCE Sumner M. Redstone Foundation