It is a good time of the year to think about those less fortunate than us. It is easy to forget that the lifestyle we take for granted is not enjoyed by many people in the developing world. The gap is so large that we could be forgiven for concluding that there is not much any of us can do to make a difference. That is why a focused initiative is attractive to many business leaders who want to see their contributions make a direct impact.
Patrick O’Brien will be embarrassed by this post featuring his work spearheading a group that is doing just that. Patrick is a former executive director at Macquarie Group who now has a portfolio of activities including capital raising and board roles on early stage technology companies.
Somehow Patrick finds the time to gather business leaders together twice a year for a sporting oriented lunch to raise funds for the Ruben Centre which supports families in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. The Ruben Centre is a not-for-profit community based services organisation supported by the Edmund Rice Foundation. It provides primary healthcare, education and social support within the Mukuru slum in Nairobi. The current population exceeds 600,000 and many families live in corrugated iron shacks measuring 10 x 10 feet.
Donors contribute $500 per year, hence the name the 500 Supporters’ Group. Funds are channelled direct to the Ruben Centre. People who have visited the Centre are visibly moved by the impact that the 500 Supporters’ Group is making on the lives of those families, who are amongst the poorest of the poor. The Centre is an oasis for the community, particularly the staff and students of the primary school. Over 2,750 children are educated at the school, all of whom receive a daily meal which is often the only main meal each child will have for the day. This is a major incentive for parents to educate their children.
The primary objective of the 500 Supporters’ Group is to help meet the annual operating costs of the Ruben Centre, which exceeds $950,000. Since its establishment, the 500 Supporters’ Group has raised in excess of $4M. That funding has been a constant when other large promised contributions have not been realised.
I enjoy being a contributor to this focused cause. You may already have your own favourite charity for giving to those less fortunate than us. However, if you are looking for a worthy cause, then click here for more information on the 500 Supporters’ Group.
Thank you for making a difference.
Best regards, Brian
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