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A Letter from the President of the Foundation

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A Letter from the President of the Foundation >>>

So many problems, so many needs, so many people dying unnecessarily every day, so many millions more condemned to lives of incredible hardship and deprivation. What can we do? Where can we begin? Is it even possible to make a difference?

These questions haunt us as we try to understand how we can invest our limited time and energy and resources to try to make the world a better place.

In “Schindler’s List,” Schindler’s workers gave him a ring inscribed “He who saves one life, saves the whole world.” The words are simple, but the idea is so very complex. I’ve reflected long and often on those words, and have come to understand that the spiritual power of this idea overcomes its factual limitations. It led me to explore the Hebrew concept of tikkun olam - our responsibility to repair the world. Anne Frank expressed it perfectly in her Diary,

“How wonderful it is that no one need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world.”

And so it is that each of us has the opportunity to think about the needs of the world, to sort out our priorities, and to take action. My moment of awakening came from a newspaper article about a New York City taxi driver, an immigrant from India, who started a school for girls in the little house his parents had left him when they died. There were no schools for girls in that poor, rural area, and for $2,500 a year, the taxi driver was able to hire a teacher and provide a basic education for 50 girls each year, transforming not only their lives, but also those of their present - and future - families.

If this fellow can do it, what was I waiting for? And so the idea for the Hope for Poor Children Foundation was born. We are committed to helping poor children and their families, primarily in the developing world, with the basic necessities of survival – clean drinking water, basic health care, with an emphasis on blindness prevention, and basic education.

Why the developing world, when there are obviously so many unmet needs here at home? Because the needs in the developing world are so immense, so urgent, and because so little money can make such a huge difference there. Some of the schools in our country leave much to be desired, but at least they exist, and they’re free. Good medical care may not be readily accessible to the poor or uninsured, but at least we have some and it’s free for those who can’t afford to pay. We take civil order for granted: we have to don’t worry every day that our families will be murdered by a rival tribe, or our property plundered by a neighboring warlord. But in the developing world, the poor and the sick are usually out of luck. There is no safety net, and dysfunctional, often kleptocratic governments, do little or nothing to help.

We have a compelling opportunity to strengthen institutions in the developing world and to help the poor help themselves. The Hope for Poor Children Foundation is committed to this vision.

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