Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Award For Creative And Effective Nonprofits Announced by MacArthur Foundation: Three Recipients Deal With Indigenous Issues


Continuing its tradition of encouraging creativity and building effective institutions to help address some of the world’s most challenging problems, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced today that eight organizations in five countries will receive the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.

Though these nonprofit organizations have diverse missions – from defending equality in the Nigerian legal system to transforming low-income Chicago neighborhoods to advocating for conservation of natural resources in the Caribbean – they have much in common. All are highly creative and effective organizations that have made a remarkable impact in their fields, driving significant change on a modest budget. Each organization will receive up to $650,000, a significant sum considering their annual budgets range from just $200,000 to $4.5 million. Groups will use their awards for a range of purposes, including development of training and research facilities, technology upgrades, and the purchase of new office space.

Several of this years recipients have worked with - or on - issues effecting indigenous peoples.

Caribbean Natural Resource Institute
– Port of Spain, Trinidad
For over 30 years, the Caribbean Natural Resource Institute has championed participation in the cause of biodiversity conservation, built alliances among the region’s diverse island nations and organizations, and sensitively harmonized the needs of people and the health of their coastal environment. It has protected watersheds, ensured a role for civil society in managing threatened natural resources, designed innovative training programs and provided clear-sighted analysis in community-based tourism, sustainable fisheries and forestry. It is currently playing a leading role in helping governments and civil society in the Caribbean deal effectively with the extraordinary challenges of the climate crisis and economic turmoil through efforts to resolve conflicts between environmental and development goals.

Mahila SEWA Trust – Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
Mahila SEWA Trust works for the welfare of members of the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA), a trade union of poor, self-employed women workers that organizes women in India for employment and social security, including income, food and health security. Recently, SEWA launched a pilot community-based health program that operates in 106 villages of Ahmedabad district of Gujarat. A cadre of over 400 community health workers educates women on health insurance, diagnoses risks during pregnancy, ensures safe home delivery, and provides health education for pregnant women and new mothers.

Women of the Don – Novocherkassk, Russia
Women of the Don is a leading regional human rights organization in Russia with special expertise in combating police abuse. The organization also works on issues ranging from promoting women’s rights to providing humanitarian aid in the conflict regions of the North Caucasus. It builds dialogue with local authorities and an atmosphere of trust between authorities and civil society organizations in the Rostov region.

“These organizations may be small but their impact is tremendous,” said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton. “From protecting human rights to improving urban neighborhoods to conserving biodiversity, they are blazing new paths and finding fresh solutions to some of our most difficult challenges. The MacArthur Foundation has a long history of supporting organizations around the world like these that demonstrate the creativity, drive, and vision to make the world more just and peaceful.”

In making these Awards, the Foundation does not seek or accept nominations. To qualify, organizations must demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness; have reached a critical or strategic point in their development; have budgets of less than $5 million per year; show strong leadership and stable financial management; have previously received MacArthur support; and engage in work central to one of MacArthur’s core programs.

On June 11, awardees will be honored at a ceremony at MacArthur’s headquarters in Chicago. Additional information about this year’s winners is available at www.macfound.org.

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