I’ve been in New York City since the start of this week attending the 12th, and final, Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting. As a founding member of CGI, I am extremely proud of the impactful work that this organization has led and inspired—work to foster dignity, inclusion, and opportunity for so many that are underserved and disenfranchised, that will continue long after we end this annual meeting today; impact that will be seen and felt for generations, around the world.
In light of the misrepresentations, negative remarks, and political noise that attempt to shroud the real narrative here, I must address two essential points that have been falsely circulated.
- CGI members who facilitate Commitments To Action—over 3,600 commitments in the past 11 years benefitting 435M+ people—are not donors. Most member organizations are global nonprofits and NON-PAYING members.
- This work is not “donor maintenance” – it is essential work; critical work, live-saving, empowering work, that has helped to uplift communities and change individual life stories. It is specific, measurable work; with clear objectives, timelines, and goals—addressing issues across the spectrum of global challenges—climate preparedness, inequality in education, public health, workforce development, and economic inclusion.
This reference is not only inaccurate, but incredibly insulting to the CGI members making a difference and transforming lives in this country and around the world. It is also dismissive of the more than 435 million people in over 180 countries who are impacted by CGI commitments.
CGI staff members lend expertise, make connections, facilitate discussions, and ensure that CGI members’ commitments are as impactful as possible. There are people around the world whose lives have been improved specifically because CGI has worked to maximize the impact of these commitments.
I attend the Annual Meeting to form partnerships and make commitments that advance opportunity, particularly in low-income and underserved communities across the United States and around the world. Operation HOPE has spearheaded 18 commitments over the past 11 years. And, we announced two new commitments at this year’s meeting.
The first, in partnership with international personal care brand, Dermalogica, will empower women entrepreneurs, specifically in the salon and skincare industry, with a new digital vocational and entrepreneurship training platform; the second, will address economic stress faced by law enforcement personnel and the residents they serve via a national community partnership model. The model will focus on healing and positive engagement, and will deliver Operation HOPE’s financial literacy and empowerment programming and counseling services, including, free financial counseling/coaching resources for domestic abuse victims.
This is all real, tangible, work—facilitated by an organization that recognized and believed in the power of collective IDEAS and INNOVATION, and, most importantly, the power of collective ACTION.