Sustainable Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship at the Council of Foreign Relations with GMRF, One Child at the Time

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Last night, Elissa Montanti, Founder and CEO of the Global Medical Relief Fund invited Roya Mahboob and me to attend the Council of Foreign Relations event “Doing Good: Taking the Initiative to Change the World”. Elissa Montanti was one of the speakers along with Jordan Kassalow, Founder and Co-Chairman of Vision Spring, and Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. The event was presided by Richard N. Haass, President of the Council of Foreign Relations.

During the event, the speakers explained the story of their charities, how they got to where they are now, what they would have done to improve their work in the past, and their objectives for the future. They took questions from young attendees and gave great answers. I was seating with Roya Mahboob in the second raw, just behind Ryan Donovan, one of Elissa's writers, and two children from the Global Medical Relief Fund, Ahmed from Iraq, who lost his eye sight and an arm in Iraq,

and Ngawang, who lost both arms after being electrocuted in India.


Elissa Montanti spoke about her mission. It was apparent that her philosophy of “One Child at the Time” is a very specific model that pays attention to each individual person and circumstance. While for other charities, success is measured by large numbers, for example with Vision Spring that can bring 5,000 glasses to a developing countries in one week, for Elissa, every child takes years of work. The result is to empower an individual young girl or boy to overcome the disastrous consequences of losing limbs, eyesight or being burnt. The young people supported by the Global Medical Relief Fund are the best Ambassadors of Good Will for the USA and its medical and social system.

Jordan Kassalow mentioned the importance to “Embrace Failure” (#EmbraceFailure) as a process to learn and develop new strategies. He also described how multiple solutions allow to off set risk, and the importance for an organization to rely on multiple opportunities, from the NON PROFIT sector, to the GOVERNMENT, and to the PRIVATE SECTOR, where GOVERNMENT and PRIVATE helpScale to the Market (#ScaleToMarket) to support Sustainable Business (#SustainableBusiness).

Paul Rieckhoff defined the importance of Social Entrepreneurship (#SocialEntrepreneurship), and how social media (#SocialMedia) and digital media (#DigitalMedia) can make an immediate difference and contribution to realize a project, including the development of educational programs like the new GI Bill (#GIBill). Later in the evening, Paul and I connected through Twitter, even if we didn't talk in person. This allowed him to thank me for my presence and support, and me to share with him what we had done with the GIVE project and Veteran Entrepreneurship (#VeteranEntrepreneurship).

The conclusion was also that contemporary philanthropists need a High Impact Return on the Investment (#HighImpactROI) and to establish Sustainable Philanthropy (#SustainablePhilanthropy) for long term results and sustainability.

I learned a great deal from this event, and in many aspects, it reinforced my conviction that it is needed to go very deep and into a niche in a project. You can basically use Elissa Montanti's philosophy to give maximum attention to one Child at The Time, and from there, scale to bigger numbers to help and empower more children and people in need.

Social and digital media allow us to document, promote, and distribute the news associated to each person who benefits from the work of people like Elissa Montanti, Jordan Kassalow and Paul Rieckhoff. It is our job to define and document the success and High Impact Return on the Investment and the value of Sustainable Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship.

Elissa Montanti helped 160 children from all over the world. She touched the hearts and minds of millions of people about the value of philanthropy and accessible medicine. The Global Medical Relief Fund is the perfect example of a niche project that can make a difference in the life of millions of people, a GLOBAL project managed One Child at The Time.

About the author


Wikipedia Info Skin in the game @bitLanders Where social media meets the gaming Universe & positive self expression. Founding board member of @WomensAnnex Foundation supporting Women's Digital Literacy, Sustainability, and Community Building. Founder and President of MTI New York Board member @GMRF…

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