Posts Tagged ‘not-for-profit’

New York City has recently been host to other events besides President Ahmadinejad ‘s visit. For example, the Clinton Global Initiative just concluded its three-day conference. The organization was begun three years ago by former President Clinton with the goal of turning “good intentions into real results” through commitments to programs or actions in one of four areas: education, energy and climate change, global health and poverty alleviation. Membership in the organization is by invitation only. The conference this year brought together an assortment of people: current and former heads of state, business leaders, noteworthy academicians, and key non-profit representatives, along with some serious celebrity star power, courtesy of Shakira, the ever-present Jolie-Pitt team and Andre Agassi. Also present were folks like Tony Blair and Al Gore who bring their own brand of celebrity in the way certain ex-politicians do these days. The media was represented by people like the ubiquitous Rupert Murdoch as well as noted columnist Nicholas Kristof, who looked both delighted and stunned to be interviewing the stunning Ms. Jolie. At first, it appeared to be another one of those high-powered conferences, cerebral yet sexy, complete with notable invitees, fabulous food, stimulating conversation, important papers and press releases, all followed by plans for another conference. But appearances can be deceiving. CGI demands not only answers but action. Registration is $15,000 for the event, but all the money in the world won’t get you invited back if you don’t live up to your commitment. Real programs are initiated or continued, like the rebuilding program in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward to which Brad Pitt is committed, bluntly and appealingly called “Make It Right.”

Mr. Clinton is expanding the reach of the organization in two ways, by reaching out to college campuses and allowing those of us with less money, clout or celebrity to become involved through its new website. Even though you and I may never get to hang with all the movers and shakers and beautiful people, we could conceivably be part of a vast private effort to right the world’s wrongs. Sure, it sounds naive but it also sounds lots more helpful than those conferences that produce ideas but no follow-through. This could be one group that, by virtue of its cross-cultural influence and PR savvy, might actually be able to make it right – or at least a little better.

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