“It’s time to get people’s attention,” singer Alicia Keys told The New York Times this weekend. “People won’t be able to ignore this visual.”
She’s not kidding. The pregnant Grammy winner posed nude (in a G-rated way) with a peace sign painted on her baby bump to promote her new movement, We Are Here.
The goal is to connect her millions of fans with reputable organizations tackling big issues, from hunger and poverty to LGBT rights and gun violence. Keys has donated $1 million to be split among 12 groups and released a new song, “We Are Here,” to get even more attention.
Already, two organizations have matched her $1 million pledge, and her song has more than half a million YouTube views. Keys and the nonprofit groups hope to turn all this hype into a better world.
Here’s a look at some of the globally focused organizations that made Keys’ list.
Alicia says: “We are here to raise families out of poverty.”
Mission: CARE works with 97 million people in 87 countries to reduce poverty through gender-equality-based programs. They also provide food, shelter and supplies during natural disasters, in refugee camps and in war zones.
Money raised in 2012: $557,527,133
Percent of budget spent on programs and services: 90.1 percent
Ultimate goal: Eliminating severe poverty by striking at the roots of the problem, like gender inequality and injustice.
Current project they’re proud of: CARE has been working with communities in Peru to find out why women weren’t going to health clinics. “In these villages in the Andes, we found indigenous women didn’t feel welcome,” says spokesman Brian Feagans. “We developed a program to make the clinics more accommodating.” Where these changes were implemented, maternal mortality dropped 50 percent, says Feagans. Now CARE is helping the Peruvian government adopt these new ways.
What they’d do with unlimited funds: “We would keep helping families in the poorest communities on earth lift themselves out of poverty,” says Feagans. “We would keep fighting poverty, connecting women to markets, supporting women and girls, and preventing gender-based violence.”
Alicia says: “We are here to improve education for … girls.”
Mission: The group made a film (also called Girl Rising) that uses celebrities, including Keys, to narrate the real-life stories of nine girls who struggled to get an education. It uses the film, which aired on CNN, as well as a school curriculum, to raise awareness about how education can transform a girl’s life.
Money raised since March 2013: Since the film’s release last year, donations of $2 million have been received by the Girl Rising fund and then distributed to their partners, including CARE and Partners in Health.
Ultimate goal: For girls and boys to have the same graduation rate from secondary school. “When girls are 12 or 13, they move into puberty, and families have to make tough choices about who to invest in, their sons or their daughters,” says president Holly Gordon.
Current project they’re proud of: The film has been “catalytic for unlocking resources and starting conversations about how the role of girls’ education can build a nation,” says Gordon. The movie aired on CNN and has been seen around the world.
What they’d do with an unlimited budget: Adapt the film to reach audiences in more countries. The Indian version, for example, has replaced the Hollywood voices with Bollywood actors and been translated into Hindi and three other languages.
Alicia says: “We are here to help people with AIDS.”
Mission: Co-founded by Keys, Keep a Child Alive helps children and families with HIV/AIDS in India, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda. The group partners with local organizations to provide food, shelter, transportation and medical care.
Money raised in 2012: $4,086,206
Percent of the budget spent on programs and services: 81 percent
Ultimate goal: Complete access to necessary treatment, care and support for children and families with HIV/AIDS — tough to achieve in a world where “people think HIV is taken care of,” says CEO Peter Twyman.
Current project they’re proud of: An HIV clinic in the poorest section of Kampala, Uganda, where a doctor began by treating 20 patients in the back of a church. “She saw people dying and she decided to learn about HIV and how to treat it,” says Twyman. “And she got people drugs they needed, by hook or by crook.” Keep a Child Alive invested in her efforts; the clinic now reaches 12,000 patients.
What they would do with unlimited funds: Create a set of best practices that could be implemented elsewhere (a process that they are already starting). For example, in Kampala, Uganda, the teens who work with the group call themselves the “Victory Squad.” The Ugandan government wants to expand teen outreach and has asked for help from Keep a Child Alive.
Alicia says: “We are here to end poverty.”
Mission: In over 90 countries, Oxfam provides water, sanitation and food for the poor, and campaigns for human rights as well.
Money raised in 2013: $65,422,324
Percent of budget spent on programs and services: 78.8 percent
Current project they’re proud of: Their work in refugee camps around Syria, Darfur, South Sudan and, most recently, Gaza. “We provide services like water and sanitation, because without that, you can’t survive,” says Bob Ferguson, creative alliances manager. “We make sure people stay as healthy as possible in terrible situations, and help keep them optimistic, too.”
Ultimate goal: “To be put out of business,” says Ferguson. “We want to end poverty and social injustice. That’s a heady goal, but that’s the strategy we pursue with every project we start.”
Alicia says: “We are here to improve health care.”
Mission: Partners in Health seeks to bring high-quality health care to the poorest communities. The effort that began in Haiti in 1987 has since expanded to eight countries and dozens of partner projects.
Money raised in 2012: $95,913,543
Percent of budget spent on programs and services: 93.1 percent
Ultimate Goal: To make world-class health care available to everyone.
Current project they’re proud of: Partners in Health has worked in Haiti for over 25 years, but after the 2010 earthquake, they helped build a 300-bed university hospital. “Not only can patients get a high level of care, but [the hospitals] are training the next generation of health care workers, with nursing and residency programs,” says Samantha Ender, a senior development officer.
What they’d do with unlimited funds: Continue their response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa. This month, PIH began working with two nonprofits on the ground in Liberia and Sierra Leone to stem the current outbreak but also to look at a health care system whose structural problems have made it hard to stop the spread of the virus and that is “bending under the weight of this outbreak,” says Ender.
Alicia says: “We are here to stop the war on children.”
Mission: The international organization based in Canada offers education for children and job training for families in war-torn regions. One focus is keeping kids out of militias and in school.
Money raised in 2012: $6,754,323
Percent of budget spent on programs and services: 90 percent
Current project they’re proud of: War Child was one of the few organizations active in Malakal, a city in South Sudan. When renewed violence broke out in 2013, its programs were in danger. “Tens of thousands were forced to flee, including our participants and our staff,” says founder Samantha Nutt. “But we were able to set up operations over the border in Uganda and kept the thread of work going.”
What they’d do with unlimited funds: Stay the course. Nutt and her organization know that they are dealing with challenges that can’t be solved overnight. “These are kids and teenagers who have only ever known war,” she says. “Most humanitarian aid is short term: food, water and shelter. As war drags on, the risk to children and families increases, but the world stops paying attention.”
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