came up with the idea and funded the effort.
Simmons became involved with the organization about four years ago, after he heard Sachs give a talk to a group of investment bankers about the impending humanitarian crisis facing the world. “Some 7 [million] to 10 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa will die in the next seven to 10 years, absent a massive humanitarian intervention,” says Simmons, citing data from scientists, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.N. “Most of the [victims] are children, and they die from opportunistic diseases coming from malnutrition as well as starvation, malaria, and dehydration…The level of human suffering outside of the United States is just staggering…The question was: How many of those people do we have the will to save?”
Simmons says there aren’t as many black people involved in the cause and cites a lack of knowledge of the organization and its efforts as a factor. “The CD [was] designed primarily to raise money, but also to raise awareness of Millennium Promise and what the [organization] is doing for a group of people who are not a part of the gifting demographic.” Simmons, who also works with the nonprofit organization Care for Haiti (www.careforhaiti.org), stresses that the moment to begin giving is now, despite turbulent economic times.
“[If] times get harder for us,” Simmons says, “[then] times are getting absolutely miserable for the poor, and beyond misery for the poorest of the poor, and that’s the group we’re trying to help. This is not cliché: Fifty dollars will buy 10 bed nets to protect children and a family from malaria. Fifty dollars has the ability to save five human lives. With that type of trade-off, how do you say that $50 dollars is too much?”