Philanthropists at work: July 31, 2008

Bangboy $500 million to stop smoking. Bill Gates and NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will spend $500 million to stop people around the world from smoking.  The World Health Organization estimates that tobacco will kill up to a billion people in the 21st century.  Only this time, it will be those living in poor countries like Bangladesh and middle income countries like Russia.  The Bloomberg Foundation will commit $250 million over four years in addition to a $125 million gift announced two years ago.  The Gates Foundation will provide $125 million over five years.

$7.5 million to fight preventable blindess. Kenneth Behring, Blackhawk developer and former Seattle Seahawks owner has donated $7.5 million to the Lions Clubs International Foundtion to fight preventable blindness in India, China and Mexico.  Mr. Behring is the founder the Wheelchair Foundation, WaterLeaders Foundation and Global Health & Education Foundation.  The funds will be used to restore the eyesignt of people suffering from preventable blindess by supporting cataract surgeries, building and expanding eye clinics, distributing medication and training doctors.  The funds are part of the Lions Campaign SightFirst II, which has raised more than $200 million.

$1 million prize headed by Iqbal Quadir, founder of Grameen Telecom. Iqbal Quadir, founder of Grameen Telecom will be chairman of the newly created Legatum Fortune Technology Prize.  The $1 million award is intended to “reward for-profit efforts to provide products and services to the poor through the use of technology.”  Announced at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in California earlier this month, the prize is being funded by the Legatum Group.  Mr Quadir is at MIT and heads The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship.  The Legatum Group provided $50 million of long term investment to the Center.  The Group has also set up the Legatum Institute “to promote the principles that drive the creation of global prosperity and the expansion of human liberty.”

$1 million to Aravind Eye Care Systems in India. The Aravind Eye Care Systems in Tamil Nadu, India will receive the 2008 Gates Award for Global Health.  The award comes with a $1 million gift in recognition of its work in preventing blindness and providing affordable eye care to the poor.  Aravind has provided outpatient care to 2.4 million patients and performed more than 280,000 operations last year.

Photo coutersy of the Uncultured Project