[caption id="attachment_740" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="President Bill Clinton speaks at the first day of his annual philanthropy event. (Photo by Cibele Vieira / Clinton Global Initiative)"]
Merck, the pharmaceutical giant, announced this week a $500-million commitment over the next decade to help reduce the number of women who die in pregnancy and childbirth. Details of the plan are forthcoming, but the company says it will work with Save the Children, among other groups.
The announcement was one of several made during the United Nations meeting and President Clinton’s annual philanthropy event, which compete with teach other for the attention of world leaders, corporate chieftains, nonprofit officials, and foundation executives.
Mr. Clinton’s event opened on Tuesday morning with a group of heads of state, including leaders of Bangladesh, Mali, Mexico, and Norway, who shuttled from the U.N. headquarters to the conference’s Times Square hotel location to speak about climate change.
A focus of the event this year is on how to create jobs. At an evening session on Tuesday, Ford Foundation president Luis Ubiñas shared the stage with Gavin Newsom, California’s lieutenant governor, and Carlos Slim, the Mexican telecommunications billionaire, to discuss how to spur job creation in “megacities.”
To attend Mr. Clinton’s event, donors and nonprofit leaders must make a “commitment” to effect change on a specific topic.
Among the announcements of new commitments made on Tuesday:
• Donors including the Ford, Nike, NoVo, and William and Flora Hewlett foundations announced a new partnership to reduce the number of girls who are forced into marriages before the age of 18. Child marriage affects an estimated 10 million girls each year, the donors said. About $1.5-million has been raised so far for the effort. The Elders, a group of world leaders dedicated to improving human rights, is spearheading the new partnership.
• The nonprofit group PATH announced a $25-million grant to improve women and children’s health in Mozambique and South Africa. The money comes from BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities, the nonprofit arm of BHP Billiton, an Australian mining and gas company.
• The Western Union Foundation unveiled a three-year effort to spur job creation in sub-Saharan Africa. The fund will contribute $1.5-million in the first year and provide technical assistance, business training, networking opportunities, and other aid to small and midsize businesses in the region.
• The Exxon Mobil Foundation is giving $1.5-million to the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women to study how mobile-phone technology can help women entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses. Continue reading