September 26, 2008

The Green Family Foundation Joins Forces With the Earth Institute at Columbia University and The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to Support First Millennium Village in Haiti

NEW YORK, Sept. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The Green Family Foundation (, a private, non-profit organization that supports social programs dedicated to improving global health and elevating universal socio-economic conditions, announced today that it has joined forces with the Earth Institute at Columbia University and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to fight extreme poverty, hunger and disease in rural Haiti. The Millennium Villages Project in Haiti, which was launched in 2007 and began operations in January 2008, is being heralded by President William Jefferson Clinton at this year's Clinton Global Initiative. The partnership will also work directly with Haitian President Rene Preval and his distinguished colleagues to help further solutions to Haiti's many challenges at the national level. First launched in 2004 in Kenya by the Earth Institute, the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) is a community-driven development program tackling the toughest challenges of extreme poverty in order to achieve the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Currently there are 80 Millennium Villages in 10 African countries, affecting the lives of nearly half a million people. This collaboration supports the first MVP in the Western Hemisphere.

Kimberly Green, President of the Green Family Foundation said, "We are extremely proud to provide lead funding for this project and to work alongside tremendous partners -- the University of Miami and the Earth Institute at Columbia University." Green further said, "Our Foundation shares a deep bond with Haiti, a country that we've supported for six years through our longstanding relationship with Project Medishare and the University of Miami. The creation of Millennium Villages Project Haiti is a natural expansion of the Foundation's commitment to the people of Haiti. We also extend our deepest gratitude to President Clinton and the team at CGI for helping to refocus the international spotlight on Haiti, a country that desperately needs the support and resources of the international community."

The Project supports the Government of Haiti's national poverty reduction efforts alongside direct and concrete implementation activities devoted to achieving the MDGs. The project is intended to provide the Government with a pilot mechanism for the delivery of development services across the country. The Green Family Foundation is providing a $900,000 seed-grant to launch the first MVP as well as an economic policy support program.

"The Millennium Villages Project," said Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, "offers a holistic approach to community-based development, with bed nets to fight malaria, seeds and fertilizer to increase food production, the building of schools and clinics, and safe water to the poorest places in rural Africa. We're now proud to be working with the Green Family Foundation and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to bring those same programs and interventions to our neighbor Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. With mounting development, political, and weather-related challenges, Haiti needs our support more than ever."

The collaboration provides increased capability to fulfill the MDGs -- clear targets for reducing poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and discrimination against women -- by 2015. By combining expertise in science and policy with local knowledge, the MV Project addresses all the major challenges of poverty -- hunger, disease, lack of safe drinking water, and the absence of essential infrastructure to enable those living in extreme poverty to build thriving and productive communities.

Each Partner will have the following core roles and responsibilities:

The Green Family Foundation provided founding funding and is working to establish an international network of investors and partners to facilitate program expansion and sustainability. The Foundation is also assisting in the development of global public relations and communications strategies to maximize partnership visibility and demonstrate project impact.

The Earth Institute at Columbia University is contributing to this project in two respects. First, as the developer of the Millennium Villages model, the Earth Institute provided technical support. Second, the Earth Institute is providing economic policy advice to the Office of the President of Haiti, in collaboration with the UN Development Program (UNDP), to support broader national strategies to achieve the MDGs and to help ensure the emerging lessons of the MVs inform national policy making processes, particularly through support for data collection and analysis efforts.

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is assuming primary responsibility for overall MVP planning, management, implementation, research, and outcomes reporting. This includes liaison with external partners and in-country partners, the latter including local community leaders, local universities, local and national government representatives, and other NGOs and partners as necessary to facilitate implementation.

The University of Miami is coordinating the MV Project's collaboration with other partners. This includes, inter alia, Project Medishare, a non-governmental organization that supports health service delivery programs in Haiti, and the University of Florida, which is contributing agricultural expertise to the project. Collaboration with the UNDP in Haiti is under discussion. Other partners will be added on a case-by-case basis, as decided by project leadership.

University of Miami President, Donna E. Shalala, highlights the collaboration as an example of the University's leadership role in advancing health, development, and well-being throughout the region. Shalala said, "The collaboration is an example of leveraging resources across the University to create global linkages to help alleviate poverty in the region, while also providing opportunities to generate new knowledge and discoveries essential for advancement."

Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School of Medicine highlights the collaboration as an important milestone in the Miller School's efforts to extend health beyond frontiers and barriers. "The Miller School is honored to assist health and development efforts in Haiti by joining hands with Professor Sachs and his expert team at the Earth Institute, with support of the Green Family Foundation."

The Millennium Village Project in Haiti is engaging local organizations, national institutions, and the international community to assist the urgent health and development needs of the country. The first village was established in the rural community of Marmont in Haiti's Central Plateau, the poorest region of the country.

The simultaneous undertaking of policy work and community-led development activities is impacting all areas of development including infrastructure, health, agriculture, education, and water, in order to facilitate sustainability and assist scale-up of the project to a national level.

The Green Family Foundation

CONTACT: Joe Cohen, MWW Group, +1-201-964-2443, [email protected], for TheGreen Family Foundation

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