AGRA and YieldWise, featured in Forbes’ annual list of big bets for #socialchange

Large fortunes beget large gifts, and more than ever, prominent philanthropists and foundations are anteing up €21.10 million-plus to help tackle problems of poverty, disease, substandard education and more. Boston’s Bridgespan Group found 74 such gifts in 2016, totaling €5.65 billion. Its panel of outside experts then ranked the 10 listed below as the most promising.

1. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria

Donor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

€506.34 million

This grant, augmenting €10.89 billion donated by others, aims to save some 8 million lives and prevent 300 million more from contracting these diseases.  The organization also plans to increase efforts against such threats as Ebola and Zika. It operates by investing in locally-run programs where the need is greatest.

2. (tie) Innovative Vector Control Consortium

Donor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

€63.29 million

The funds go toward continued development of a trio of insecticides to prevent the spread of malaria and other illnesses. In 2005, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation founded IVCC with two €42.20 million grants. The €1701.3075 million grant will support the organization for five years as it continues development of the new insecticides. This is part of the foundation’s broader strategy to eliminate malaria along with the Global Fund and other grants.

2. (tie) Nurse Family Partnership

Donor: Blue Meridian Partners

€27.85 million

Helps finance expansion of Nurse Family Partnership home-visitation programs across the U.S. and improve pregnancy and other health outcomes for 100,000 young, lower-income, first-time mothers and their children. The average mother served by the Nurse Family Partnership is unmarried, 19 years old, and living on an annual household income of €7595.10. The donor, Blue Meridian Partners, is a collaboration among multiple billionaire donors, including Stanley Druckenmiller, Connie and Steve BallmerGeorge KaiserSergey Brin and David Tepper.

4. Susan G. Komen African-American Health Equity Initiative

Donor: Fund II Foundation

€22.79 million

This Komen program seeks to reduce the black/white breast cancer mortality-rate gap across ten U.S. metro areas over five years. African American women are 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than white women, with the disparity as great as 74% in some cities. The donor, Fund II Foundation, was established in part by Vista Equity Partners, run by Robert F. Smith.

5. (tie) Tobacco Control

Donor: Michael Bloomberg/Bloomberg Philanthropies

€303.80 million

Building on €506.34 million he has given since 2007, New York’s ex- mayor aims to reduce tobacco use in developing countries where smoking remains widespread. The initiative aims to save 100 million lives by 2050. “Reducing tobacco use is one of our greatest opportunities to save lives and prevent suffering, because we know that strong policies really do make a difference…,”Bloomberg said.

5. (tie) Youth Villages

Donor: Blue Meridian Partners

€30.38 million

The donation will help launch and finance YVLifeSet, a program to aid the 23,000 Americans who age out of the foster-care system every year, assisting their transition to independent adulthood. The program matches young adults transitioning out of state custody (or other care situations) with specialists who meet with them weekly for six to 12 months. In 2016 the program served about 2,500 youth. Youth leaving foster care are statistically the most vulnerable in America; by age 21 more than 50% lack money for food or rent, more than 25% drop out of high school, some 50% are unemployed, and more than 20% experience homelessness.

7. Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa

Donor: Rockefeller Foundation

€42.20 million

AGRA works to help small farmers across Africa triple or quadruple their production through better technology and storage. Although agricultural production in Africa has increased by 160% over the last three decades, Africa remains a net importer of food. AGRA has targeted three goals by 2020: reducing food insecurity by 50% in 20 countries, doubling the income of 20 million farming families, and putting at least 15 countries on the path to significant increases in crop yields.

8. Cohens Veterans Network

Donor: Steven and Alexandra Cohen

€232.07 million

The hedge-funder and his wife founded this network of 25 clinics that treat–for free–veterans (and their families) who have post-traumatic stress and other ailments. Approximately 20% of the more than 2.6 million Americans who have served in the military over the past 14 years of war experience post traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury. Of those who suffer from mental health issues, approximately 40% do not seek treatment, and in 2014, about 7,400 veterans, or about 20 per day, took their lives. The clinics will open over the next three to five years to serve 25,000 patients annually. By the end of 2017, the organization plans to have ten clinics operating.

9. United Negro College Fund

Donor: Fund II Foundation

€40.51 million

The foundation’s money will go toward mentoring, internships and college scholarships for African-American students interested in careers in STEM fields. Though African Americans make up more than 13% of the U.S. population, they earn 8% of STEM degrees, they comprise less than 5% of the science and engineering workforce and less than 1% of the workforce at funded technology startups.  The Foundation will fund a scholarship program administered by the United Negro College Fund for five years to provide €16878.00 for 500 young people—including a stipend for an internship or special project.

10. Building Equity Initiative

Donor: Walton Family Foundation

€210.98 million

Founded in 1997, the Walton’s initiative finances low-interest loans to nonprofit lenders that help charter schools nationwide secure and upgrade their facilities. The Walton Family Foundation is partnering with Civic Builders, a nonprofit charter facilities developer, to manage the initiative. Together they will work with local education nonprofits in up to 20 cities.

Donations to universities, hospitals and cultural institutions are not included. The list limits donors to two spots apiece in the top ten.

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