Clinton Inspires Strategic Philanthropy

Recently philanthropy made headline news when Bill Gates and Warren Buffett challenged the world’s top 40 billionaires to join them in donating at least 50% of their wealth to philanthropy at some point in their lifetime. Published reports show many people are accepting this challenge.

However, there still remains a critical role for all companies, private foundations and individuals to help improve the lives of others. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton recognized an opportunity five years ago to enhance philanthropy through the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) program, where he assembles the world’s leaders annually to focus their philanthropy and help answer the burning question of how can we better address the challenges facing our world? Simply put, through stronger global partnerships we can be more effective in improving people’s lives.

Since its inception five years ago the CGI has helped create 1700 Commitments (partnerships of nonprofits and funders) valued at $57 Billion and improved the lives of almost 300 million people. Commitments are made in areas of Environment and Energy, Education, Economic Empowerment, and Global Health. This year the 2010 Action Areas of emphasis inside the four categories are Empowering Girls and Women, Strengthening Market Based Solutions, Harnessing Human Potential, and Enhancing Access to Modern Technology.

I was fortunate to represent Applied Materials and the Applied Materials Foundation at this year’s annual conference in New York City that brought together over 1,300 leaders in philanthropy, including heads of state. I was really impressed to see that several social entrepreneurs who have been honored by the Tech Awards, an awards program that honors innovators from around the world who are applying technology to benefit humanity, which Applied help found and sponsor were also partners in CGI commitments.

CGI is an excellent venue to help social entrepreneurs find the right funding partners to help scale their business and perhaps find expanded distribution networks as well. It is clearly evident that the magnetism of Bill Clinton as a global leader remains strong and vibrant as he uses the global reach of his legacy to bring together solutions for some of the world’s greatest challenges. Not only does Clinton provide inspiration for Gates, Buffet and other billionaires, but he also encourages all of us to engage in changing the world for good – at whatever level we can.

Visit the CGI web site for more information and to see highlights of this year’s conference. You’ll be glad you did.

For more information on Applied Materials and our philanthropic efforts please visit our web site.

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