The four business leaders--Steven S Reinemund, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo, Inc; Robert W. Lane, Chairman and CEO, Deere & Company; Maria Elena Lagomasino, CEO, Asset Management Advisors, an affiliate of SunTrust Banks, Inc.; and Michael G. Morris, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, American Electrical Power--launched the Central America and Mexico Hurricane Relief Fund as a nationwide effort to raise corporate and private donations to help those whose lives and communities were shattered in 2005.
The recent hurricane season, historically one of the worst on record, brought much devastation to some of the poorest areas of Central America and southern Mexico. Already struggling to recover from recent natural disasters, the heavy rains that drenched Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Mexico triggered deadly floods and landslides and left hundreds of lives lost, over 100,000 people homeless and thousands still reported missing. The economic impact alone, including destruction of crops and loss of livelihoods, is estimated at more than $1 billion dollars.
Through the Relief Fund, all monies raised will directly support three specific recovery areas in the impacted regions: education for displaced children, infrastructure and reconstruction, and microfinance projects to help stimulate local economies. Fund administrative and processing costs are covered by a grant from the private sector partners.
As the non-profit partner in the initiative, Global Impact will manage and account for donations and ensure that all funding goes to qualified, effective aid organizations that meet high standards for accountability, transparency, and compliance with all legal requirements. Global Impact will also serve with the four sponsoring executives and USAID on the advisory committee that guides the distribution of the funding.
"We chose Global Impact because its member charities are among the most active providing services in the affected area, and because of its proven track record in ensuring that donor funds are used appropriately and effectively in overseas relief efforts," said Jackie Millan, Manager of Corporate Contributions for PepsiCo, Inc.
Global Impact is uniquely qualified to perform these vital functions. Founded in 1956, Global Impact has as its members 50 of the most respected, U.S.-based international charities, including founding member CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children, Doctors Without Borders USA and World Vision. Global Impact member charities reach into every corner of the developing world, providing opportunities in the form of emergency medical care, food, water and shelter to those whose lives were upended by disasters or armed conflict. Because of their expertise in similar overseas disasters, many Global Impact charities were first responders and are still providing significant relief and redevelopment in the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Global Impact CEO Renée Acosta praised the initiative. "This program shows how much can be accomplished when companies partner with charities and the public sector to respond rapidly to humanitarian crises. We are enormously grateful for the leadership and generosity shown by these committed executives."
Global Impact member charities are already deeply involved in bringing emergency aid and reconstruction efforts to Mexico and Central America. Individuals can learn more about the initiative and donate funds by visiting the program's website, www.HurricaneAction.org.
For more information about Global Impact, please visit www.charity.org.
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