It is the year 2010, and in a small conference room outside of Portland, Oregon, four people pause in what is clearly an animated discussion. They look out at the snow covered evergreen world.
Finally, one of the women, the youngest of the group, probably in her mid-30s, who is wearing faded jeans says, "It is time to act. We have been over and over the proposal. Let’s just do it."
"Not all of it," said the one man in the group, the only one who is in a suit, "I say just phase one, that’s enough to make serious waves."
"No way!" said the women in jeans, "Either we do it right or we don’t do it at all. That’s been the problem forever. We have the ability to take this to scale and that is the only way I will be involved!"
"There are all kinds of definitions of what constitutes scale, and everything we have learned is that it is still a fledgling industry. What if we are too far out ahead of the system, the infrastructure can’t handle it, and the people on the ground aren’t really up to it?" said the ‘suit’.
"What you mean, and what you keep implying, is that you don’t trust people who are poor, who are brown and black; you know I have always suspected that under all of your fancy talk there is some subliminal racism!"
"Whoa! Calm down,"says an attractive Indian woman, fashionably dressed in a colorful sari, "we all have some subliminal racism and there is less of it in this room than I have ever seen in my life."
"You should know, after all you are so much older than the rest of us," piped up the last member of this intriguing foursome, a slim pixie of a women, in black pants and a white blouse, who had been staring out the window seemingly lost in reverie. "Remember when the Wall Street Journal made a big deal that you were the oldest member of the team. We were just brilliant children but you were 35 then, can’t imagine how old you are now!"
"Look," said the woman in jeans with continued intensity, "either we believe in the idea and the people or we don’t. The research and the due diligence have been going on for more than a year. The only question is whether we have the will."
"I want my will, is there a pill, I want my will, oh my dear, find me a suitable pill?" sang the pixie, as she did a pirouette away from the window. All four laughed. The tension that had been building dispersed as it had in so many similar moments over the 15 years these four people had worked together.
"Ok, Ok you win," said the man, " I’m with it but my one big condition still stands, the gift is completely anonymous, not even one whisper of where the money came from. All of this deal, and it is a very big deal, is going to be focused on the substance, not on a bunch of crazy e-types looking for glory. Agreed?"
They all looked at the woman in the sari who had been arguing, in her low-key way, why she felt that the gift would be so better leveraged if they attached their names to it. Then she smiled, "I have an idea, what if after the public announcement we make a gift in our own names, you know, a big one except when compared to this one, and then urge others to do the same."
"Agreed," said the man.
"Great idea!" said the pixie.
"We are going to do it! We are finally going to do it! I love you guys!" said the woman in jeans.
If this were a movie the last POV would be- big smiles and embraces all around framed against a Pacific Northwest winter wonderland shinning in bright sun.
October 1, 2010
Five Billion Dollar Investment in Third World Women
An anonymous donor has made up to $5 billion available to the major NGO’s who operate micro-credit and economic development programs for very poor women in Asia, Africa and South America. The investment, believed to be the largest private gift ever made for the alleviation of poverty in the developing world, will increase five fold the amount of capital available for these kinds of efforts. The principal recipients will be the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, Accion International, a Somerville, MA organization that works primarily in Latin America, and CARE, the international relief and economic development organization for its work in Africa. These groups, and several others, will act as intermediaries to expand the system of loans and technical assistance that currently exist. The World Bank, the InterAmerican Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank have agreed to provide technical support and significant additional long term financing. In addition, a group of banks active in international capital markets have agreed to provide an additional $10 billion in credit. A unique aspect of the gift is that those who will receive it will participate in a democratic governance system chaired by former Presidents George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Nelson Mandela.
According to The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), the organization that is managing this program for the donor, the gift will leverage into more than $35 billion in additional direct aid and ultimately reach more than 15% of the world’s poorest women. It is hoped that others will see the exciting potential that this extraordinary gift has to improve the quality of life………….
New York Times
November 1, 2010
WorldLearn.com Founders Join Effort for Poor Women
The four founders of WorldLearn announced today a $50 million gift to be added to the $5 billion that was given by an anonymous donor for the same purpose last month. Half the gift will be in cash and the other half will be in WorldLearn’s unique distance learning software designed to simultaneously teach language and business practices in more than 70 languages and 250 sub-dialects. Arniari Seth, the Chairman of WorldLearn, told this reporter that the end of poverty for women in the developing world is in sight. Ms. Seth went on to say "It will take another $15 billion of private funding to extend economic self- sufficiency to more than 50% of the world’s poorest people and my colleagues and I were strongly motivated to join this effort, and urge others to do so as well. There are many reasons for this and they include..………..