Hilton Humanitarian Prize Calls Attention To Growing Need For Global Humanitarian Aid

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Hilton Humanitarian Prize Calls Attention To Growing Need For Global Humanitarian Aid

The world's problems can feel overwhelming, especially lately—with 65 million refugees displaced from their homes, 30 million people facing starvation in multiple famines, and over a dozen wars ongoing on multiple continents. More quietly, millions of children still die in poor countries from preventable causes.

It's all enough to make a foundation or major donor want to throw up their hands. How can the relatively paltry resources of private philanthropy possibly make a dent in this endless flood of misery and death?

In fact, there are a lot of ways. And we continuously report on funders finding intervention points in some of the most desperate places in the world that make a huge difference in people's lives. To be sure, the foundations with the deepest pockets—like those bankrolled by Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg—tend to achieve the greatest impact in terms of lives saved or improved. And the same goes for the largest NGOs in the world, like Medecins Sans Frontieres or CARE.

But there are plenty of less well-known organizations doing heroic work to improve human life in poor countries or devastated regions, often with relatively modest resources. And one way to learn about them is by paying attention to the Hilton Humanitarian Prize, which is being awarded today at an all-day event in Los Angeles.

Established in 1996, the prize—originally $1 million—was the largest of its kind. During those early years, it was monetarily equivalent to the Nobel Peace and Templeton prizes. In 2005, Hilton decided to increase the purse to $1.5 million and in 2015, the foundation increased the prize money even more to a total of $2 million. It remains the largest prize of its kind...

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