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this week ~ World Humanitarian Day
august 14, 2015

I’m glad I’ve got a name because I’m using it for what it’s worth.
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Audrey Hepburn is synonymous with chic style + classic cinema. Behind her big sunglasses + signature look was an elegant spirit. The Hollywood icon signed on for a “second career” in 1988, earning $1 a year as a goodwill ambassador with the children’s rights organization UNICEF.

In the role, she visited sites of “manmade tragedy” ~ from Somalia to Turkey, Vietnam to Venezuela ~ to push for “manmade solutions.” A beneficiary of relief herself during WWII, Audrey identified with the millions children whose lives she touched. Her slight build was the result of chronic hunger and malnutrition experienced while growing up in Nazi-occupied Netherlands.

Here are stories of historic humanitarians who overcame personal struggles to compassionately cater to those in need.


Helen Keller
the global ambassador for the underprivileged

Helen Keller_newsletter

"The simplest way to be happy is to do good."
source it! Helen Keller

~ a troubled child nicknamed “Little Bronco” for her frequent tantrums

~ the first blind + deaf person to earn a college degree

~ an internationally known author, lecturer + social justice crusader

Helen Keller grew up in silence + darkness after a childhood illness left her without hearing or sight when she was just 18 months old. It wasn’t until her lifelong mentor Anne Sullivan arrived at Ivy Green farm 5 years later that Helen re-awakened to the world. She spent the rest of her extraordinary life using the voice she found to bring others light.

The bold celebrity stumped for socialism + suffrage. She backed birth control and helped launch the ACLU. She co-founded Helen Keller International to combat childhood disease and spent 4 decades working with the American Foundation for the Blind. Along the way, Helen changed public perception about disabilities at a time when institutionalization was the norm.

Mark Twain famously picked Helen + Napoleon Bonaparte as the “most interesting characters of the 19th century.” We count her among the century’s most quotable. See why!

Helen Keller

Wilma Mankiller
the nation re-builder

Wilma Mankiller_newsletter.jpg

"The most fulfilled people are those who get up every morning and stand for something larger than themselves."
source it! Wilma Mankiller

~ an Oklahoma-born Cherokee girl who was raised away from tribal land + culture

~ a feminist + indigenous rights activist who championed self-determination

~ the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation

Wilma Mankiller’s grandfather survived the Trail of Tears. Her father had his land seized by the US Army during WWII. Her whole family was relocated to a San Francisco project through a Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs relocation program.

In 1977, Wilma decided to return to her ancestral home. In spite of a divorce that left her a young single parent and a car crash that nearly claimed her life, the optimistic community organizer won out over deep-seated sexism to become her nation’s top elected official.

Wilma’s story is testament to her tribe’s tenacity. It’s a quality she tapped into during her decade-long tenure as principal chief. Focusing on healthcare, education + community development, the Cherokee Nation’s population tripled under her watch. Her empowering principle ~ “We have indigenous solutions to our problems” ~ still guides her people + public policy at large.

Discover more of the words + deeds that have made Wilma a fan-favorite candidate in the ongoing campaign to replace Andrew Jackson on the 20-dollar bill...

Wilma Mankiller

Ertharin Cousin
the woman who feeds the world

Ertharin Cousin_newsletter.jpg

"Let us proudly be the crazy ones, the ambitious ones, the ones who see beyond the limits of today, who capture the opportunities, who find the resources that will build a better tomorrow, not for ourselves, but for those depending upon us to get it right."
source it! Ertharin Cousin

~ a low-income, inner-city Chicago kid who earned a law degree

~ a long-time government relations + philanthropy director for national grocery chains

~ a former US ambassador + current head of the world’s largest humanitarian organization

Ertharin Cousin is at the helm of an aid organization with 13,500 staffers + a $4.5 billion budget. Her “crazy” mission? “To end hunger in my lifetime.” It’s an ambitious goal, but The United Nation’s World Food Programme is well on its way, feeding 97 million people a year while unearthing sustainable solutions. Countries like China have moved from being significant beneficiaries to major donors. And, Ertharin is confident we have the technology and resources to make hunger history.

The WFP’s visionary director is pushing her organization beyond being the go-to source for emergency food supplies. She’s combining humanitarian efforts with locally-driven development to help vulnerable populations create food systems that can withstand future crises. With each program ~ from designing farming techniques that address climate change to building markets that enhance access to food while empowering women + small producers ~ the WFP is strengthening resilience.

Ertharin has the ear of some powerful people...like Oprah or her former neighbors, the Obamas. Hear her persuasive pitches...

Ertharin Cousin

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Discover more about the advocacy + organizations shaped by today’s featured change agents.
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Helen Keller International
The Story of My Life: The Restored Edition (Modern Library Classics)
UNICEF | Children’s Rights & Emergency  Relief Organization
Fight Hunger

Quotabelle news   who said it?

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"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one." 
"Mobilize others with radical acts of generosity." 
"It is peculiar to live in a world where hunger is an endemic problem for half the planet while diet books are best-sellers in the other half." 

from our #citeseers
From the social entrepreneurs who co-founded FEED Projects...

Millennials are looking to businesses, just as they look to governments and nonprofits, to do good. If we change our dinner, we will literally change the world.

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