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UN Foundation announces $35 million in new grants

UN Foundation announces $35 million in new grants

The United Nations Foundation - set up to execute philanthropist Ted Turner's $1 billion gift in support of UN causes - announced today a major round of investments totalling $35 million to various projects around the world.

The docket of grants, spread over 18 different projects submitted by UN agencies and programmes, was approved today by the UN Foundation Board of Directors at a meeting in New York. Of the $35 million approved, $25 million comes from the Foundation itself, while the remaining $10 million was funded by its partners.

"When Ted Turner made his $1 billion commitment to the United Nations, he promised to use his gift as a catalyst to encourage the public-private partnerships necessary to address the world's most pressing challenges," Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation, told a press conference in New York. "With nearly half of the funds we are announcing today coming from other sources, we are making good on that promise."

The new projects include a one-year effort by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) to support a campaign to address the grave health emergency now facing Afghan women. Other projects address safe motherhood, HIV/AIDS, renewable energy, sustainable development, children's health, conflict prevention and human rights.

Speaking to reporters in New York, Mr. Turner, who serves as Chairman of the Board for the UN Foundation, said efforts were made to funnel as much money as possible into the developing world to "basically in a small way to make a contribution to making a more equitable world."

Explaining his reason for contributing such a large sum of money to the UN, he said, "about 10 years ago I started to become wealthy, and you can't just sit on money, it doesn't do any good - it's not like eggs, you don't hatch and grow chickens with it, so I thought I'd just hold on to it for a little while and pass it on to somebody that needed it more than I did."