Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan to Give 99% of Facebook Shares to Charity

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The season of giving has started and Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have already set the bar high in terms of helping those in need. Yesterday, they said over the course of their lives they will give away 99% of their facebook shares. Right now, the value of those shares are at astonishing $45 billion. Talk about generous! This was such a beautiful gift from the Zuckerberg family and they revealed this donation while announcing the birth of their new baby girl, Maxima Chan Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg and Chan have written a letter to their daughter, within which it states, “they had created a new foundation that would initially focus on personalized learning, curing disease, connection people and building strong communities.”

 Zuckerberg and Dr. Chan have both been heavily active in participating in charities across the world for quite some time now. In 2010, Zuckerberg donated $1M to improve struggling schools in the New Jersey area, particularly Newark. As a young child, Mark Zuckerberg looked up to industry tycoons like Bill Gates. He admired Gates for how he built up Microsoft from the very bottom and turned it into the world’s largest PC software company. However, this wasn’t the only thing that Zuckerberg admired. He admired him for his philanthropic endeavors as well. In 2010, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet persuaded the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate at least half of their wealth to charity during or after their lifetime. Zuckerberg was one of the first to join this group. To date, Zuckerberg and Dr. Chan’s have already contributed over 1.6 billion dollars towards charitable causes. These contributions show you what type of people they are. They care for others, especially for those who are misfortunate.  They believe that having Maxima made them really put things around them into perspective, Having this child has made us think about all of the things that should be improved in the world for her whole generation,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in a video. “The only way that we reach our full human potential is if we’re able to unlock the gifts of every person around the world.”

For More information Zuckerberg and Chan’s generation donation check out: http://www.wsj.com/articles/mark-zuckerberg-priscilla-chan-to-give-99-of-facebook-stock-to-philanthropy-1449005878

Looming Humanitarian Crisis in Ukraine As A Harsh Winter Approaches

In Popasna, Ukraine the remnants of demolished factories and abandoned residential areas stand as painful reminders of a time not too long ago when gunshots and artillery rang in the background. A chilling winter approaches and members of the town walk home to shroud away from the cold.

The few small businesses that were established before the war broke out in April 2014 have been shuttered out. What’s left is a small market boasting empty shells with essentials like eggs, flour, milk , pasta and rice. Citizens barely have enough to survive, and with an approaching winter it seems that food rations might even be shorter, meaning children , the elderly and sick might starve.

Mashable reports that Popasna, a town which boasted a population of 22,000 before the war, has seen their population decrease by more than half- a staggering 11,000. More and more, people are leaving Popasna to seek better opportunities for survival outside the town which is war ravaged.  The area has been plagued by conflict since 2014.

 

To make matters even more complicated, pro-Russian separatists have banned humanitarian organizations from working in areas where they have extended their control. Russian separatists use these areas for espionage activity and crimes against citizens and the state.

With two million Ukrainians displaced from the County’s east, many people continue to flee to seek sanctuary from war and crime. Mashable also reports that The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), is scaling up its activities in Eastern Ukraine to provide humanitarian relief to its citizens . The ICRC will be providing residents whose homes have been damaged with resources like  cement, bricks, timber, ruberoid and roofing sheets to help them repair their homes  in time for the biting Ukrainian winter

But doubts and troubles still remain as many who have relied on such aid from international groups like the ICRC  now have to  go without after separatist leaders in Donetsk and Luhansk ordered Western agencies out of the region and banned them from returning to work. Many citizens suspect Pro-Russian separatists of deliberate attempts to make life even more difficult, as they attempt to block the reception of aid.

Among the banned agencies are Doctors Without borders (MSF) and the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF. ICRC had been included in the ban, but has since been allowed back in the territories.

ICRC sub delegation head Ahmad Mohanna in an interview with Reuters said “ We know 60,000 people not do not have access to hygiene, food and medical supplies.”  Concerns about the lack of access to non-government controlled areas is still paramount but international and domestic agencies are trying their best to curb the situation Popasna.

To learn more about the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, visit this article by Mashable

How the United State Is Funding Humanitarian Efforts in Syria

The refugee crisis in Syria is marked as one of the most troubling humanitarian crisis of our time. The United States will be lending its support by providing an additional $419 million in humanitarian finds to both refugee camps and communities in the country.

The United States Agency for International Development will be spearheading this humanitarian movement. Part of this funding will also come from the State Department, whose collaborative efforts with USAID have provided a $4.5 billion donation towards Syrian refugee camps and communities since  the beginning of the civil war in 2012. The United States is currently the largest donor of humanitarian aid to Syrians.

The funding will be allocated towards medical care, with a huge portion geared towards providing vaccination against measles, polio and safe drinking water. More than half- 12.2 million of the Syrian population is in dire need of humanitarian assistance, and this number is increasing as more people flee the country. Current records show that more than 4 million people have fled the country since the beginning of the war in 2012. This  humanitarian effort will also support the operations of various local non-governmental organizations and United Nation agencies working in Syria.

The regional area of Syria where various refugees have fled in large numbers will also receive aid from USAID and the State Department. With more refugees fleeing to neighbouring countries like Turkey and Lebanon, the State Department and USAID will also allocate funding to support refugees living in these areas. USAID recently announced that it will providing Yemen- a country also embroiled in internal conflict, with $89 million in additional humanitarian support.

Newsweek reports that “More than 29 million will go to Turkey, home to nearly 2 million Syrian refugees. $75.5 million will go to Lebanon, home to more than 1 million Syrian refugees: and nearly $44 million will go to Jordan, where more than 650,000 Syrian refugees live.” The United States will also spearhead the resettling of over 85,00 refugees from all over the world in 2016.

Increasing concerns over the approaching winter season and the effect of the cold weather on refugee migration is influencing the generation of aid and relief items such as warm blankets, mattresses and winter coats. The Syrian civil war, now in it’s fifth year has killed more than 220,00 Syrians which according to the United Nations is  a “ conservative estimate”.

Information for the article was culled from Newsweek

Syrian Refugee Crisis Overshadows The United Nations Plan

Tuesday, September 15th, President Obama addressed the refugee exodus saying it was America’s responsibility to “take their share” of all Syrian refugees. The Council Principals Committee created a plan that would raise the number of refugees allowed into the country from 70,000 to 85,000 for 2016 and up tp 100,000 in 2017. But with the overwhelming images of heartache and pain streaming in the media, the plan (that still needs consent from Obama) appears lackluster though it will be probably be approved quickly. The problem lies in that migrants coming to the U.S. will be considered at the earliest in 2017. Then, the process can take another 18-24 months for full acceptance. For Syrians who need help now, this will be too late. Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary acknowledged this sentiment in his last interview. He commented, ““It’s not clear to me that anybody would be able to make their way through this process before the end of the next fiscal year if they’re just applying today.” Since the war began, the United States has only accepted around 1,500 refugees.

Obama further spoke on the issue, ““This is going to require cooperation with all the European countries and the United States and the international community in order to ensure that people are safe; that they are treated with shared humanity; and that we ultimately have to deal with the source of the problem, which is the ongoing crisis in Syria.”

Unfortunately, because of a lack of action, the U.S. is executing a knee-jerk reaction to the crisis though it has been going on for several years now. There are not enough fundamentals put into place to support this rush into action. The administration requested $2.45 billion dollars for refugee support and migration during their last budget request to expedite this process.

Migrants Mediterranean

 

All political parties seem to agree with the White House. The Syrian civil war must end in order to truly solve the refugee crisis. This is hopeful as there appears to be no resolution in sight, and the U.S. has no military plans to intervene.

The refugees are in desperate need of help and assistance, and this new plan is a start, but there is more that should be done now to help those who need aid immediately.

Info courtesy of bloombergview