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Mid-December, 2015

As 2015 winds to a close, I find myself reflecting on the three years I've been honored to serve as Executive Director of The Life You Can Save.  The team, including Peter Singer of course, has done an excellent job of increasing the amount of money we raise for our recommended charities.  And through our web content, live appearances, and Giving Games program, we're exposing more people to effective giving than ever before.

We're on track to have both donations and web traffic grow by ~80% in 2015 relative to 2014, while expenses have increased at a modest ~20%.  Taking a longer perspective, as we enter 2016, our web traffic will be about 10 times where it was when I joined The Life You Can Save in 2013.

Our goal for 2016 is to continue our steady organic growth while finding opportunities to expand our reach dramatically.  We will be looking to partner with organizations with significant traffic who would reciprocally benefit from our content.  In addition to ongoing improvements to our website, we will build on the traction we've developed in arranging speaking engagements with new high worth groups and individuals.  Rob Mather, the CEO of Against Malaria Foundation, and I recently gave such a  talk to a prominent investment club, to great response.  We are excited about the plans we already have in place for similar events in the coming year.

In conclusion, I encourage everyone to give as generously as possible to our recommended charities, to take or renew our annual pledge and to help rally other donors by talking to your circles about effective giving.  In addition to your gifts to our recommended charities, consider adding a donation to The Life You Can Save to support our continuing work raising awareness and money to combat extreme poverty.

Good living and good giving,

Charlie Bresler is Executive Director of The Life You Can Save, an organization founded by the philosopher Peter Singer and based on the basic tenet of Effective Altruism: leading an ethical life involves using a portion of personal assets and resources to effectively alleviate the consequences of extreme poverty.

In Mid-December's Issue


Charity Voices


Recent News

Charity Voices
Our Recommended Charities provide great reasons to give, in December and year-round
Restoring the sight of seven-month-old twins.
Chun Souk and her twins Samlan and Sintham.
Photo: Michael Amendolia
Can you imagine your child never experiencing sight? Never seeing your own face or the face of their siblings? This was what confronted Chun Souk, the mother of twin baby boys, Samlan and Sintham, who were born in Laos with cataract blindness. From birth, all they could see was a blur of colour.

When the twins were two months old, Chun Souk noticed something wrong with one of the boys’ eyes. Distressed, she made the long trip to the closest hospital but was told her baby was too young to operate on. She didn’t give up and undertook a tiring two-day journey to the capital Vientiane to find out more. There, she was told to come back when her child was three. When she returned home, Chun Souk had the devastating realisation that her other son was also suffering from the same condition.

Chun Souk was at a loss until a screening team from an outreach eye camp run by The Fred Hollows Foundation found her and the twins. Early intervention of childhood cataracts is imperative to prevent a lifetime of blindness, but because the twins were so young, the outreach camp contacted The Foundation for special provisions. 

Without delay, a rescue operation was organised to take the twins and their mother on the long and arduous trek through jungle country to the local district hospital at Huay Xai.  

An operation on children so young had never been performed in Laos, and was only possible because of the speciality training The Fred Hollows Foundation gives to local eye surgeons, nurses and health workers.

The operation was a test of skill, but when the patches came off, the joy in the room was palpable. Samlan and Sintham were able to follow the doctor’s torch and catch sight of their first toy, a little red police car.

This story is a happy one, but there are still so many children and adults living with avoidable blindness in Laos and around the world.  The Foundation provides ongoing training and facilities and it can cost as little as $25 in some countries to restore sight. 

If you’d like to help provide the gift of sight, please visit With your help, we’re getting closer to the goal of ending avoidable blindness.
Have enough stuff? Take the #nopresentspledge!
Take the #NoPresentsPledge and let family and friends know what you really want this holiday season: the gift of health for women in need. Sign the pledge, then follow our easy steps to set up your own fundraising campaign!
I have enough stuff. In fact, I can’t think of one single thing that I need.

I’m fortunate to be where I am in life at this very minute, because right now, one million women in the developing world are suffering lives of misery and isolation for doing nothing more than try to bring a child into this world. By asking for donations instead of gifts, I know I can do my part to help.

That’s why I’m pledging to give up presents.

What I really want is the gift of health for a woman in need of a surgery that will transform her life forever.

YES! I want to take The Pledge now!
Send a Gift That Heals
Help provide critical funds for our work and find the perfect gift for your loved one in our Gifts That Heal catalog! In exchange for your donation, we are happy to offer a selection of scarves, cards, jewelry, and accessories that make the ultimate fashion statement, because every gift we send on your behalf will help change the lives of women in need. Browse our gifts now!
Banding together to rebuild Nepal's healthcare
On April 25th, Nepal was devastated by two major earthquakes and a series of subsequent aftershocks that together killed 9,000, destroyed over 1,100 healthcare facilities, and left 2.5 million homeless. 

The problem is that Nepal's healthcare system was already weak, so now is the time to build healthcare systems that can serve the poor and be resilient in the face of future natural disasters. 

See how Possible is banding people together to bring Dignified Healthcare back to Nepal at 
This Holiday Season, Give Gifts that Do a World of Good
Take a look at Seva's Gift of Sight video
Skip the long holiday lines at the department stores and instead, reconnect with the true meaning of the season by starting a new tradition of giving alternative gifts from's Gifts of Sight®. Honor friends and loved ones by giving gifts that really matter — like sponsoring sight-restoring eye surgery for a person who is blind, or providing eyeglasses to a child who is struggling in school due to low vision.

For nearly 40 years, Seva’s Gifts of Sight have celebrated compassion and embraced the connections we each share as global citizens. 

“The holidays to me represent a time for giving — not just in material form, but in compassion and service,” said Jack Blanks, Seva's Executive Director. ”Our Gifts of Sight catalog embodies this spirit and allows people to turn gift-giving into a way to help those in need. Imagine being able to give someone their eyesight back! I can't think of a better holiday gift than that.”

Here’s how it works:
  • Browse the Gifts of Sight catalog, available in print and online at, and select gifts to honor your friends, family, and business associates. These alternative gifts are actually services, such as bringing cataract surgery to people in remote rural regions of Cambodia, and all gifts are tax deductible.
  • For each gift, Seva sends a beautiful card for you to honor the special people in your life. Each card contains a description of what the gift will achieve and space for a personal message. Seva also offers Gifts of Sight eCards that can be sent by email — perfect for last minute shoppers.
  • Your gift of compassion will change someone's life forever!
For more information about Seva and Gifts of Sight, please visit:

About Seva

Seva is a Sanskrit word meaning service to others. Seva’s work is made possible by the generosity of donors and volunteers inspired by the spirit of service. Seva works to prevent blindness and restore sight worldwide. Our programs build the capacity of underserved communities to provide comprehensive and high-quality eye care that is accessible by all. In our nearly 37 years of service, Seva has helped nearly 4 million people who were blind to see again through affordable cataract surgeries and other sight-saving medical interventions. Each year Seva provides glasses and other eye care to 1 million people in need in over 20 countries.
Help double health outreach in 2016
A new cohort of Living Goods Community Health Promoters celebrating at graduation
Living Goods is growing fast! Pictured here is a new cohort of Community Health Promoters celebrating at their graduation in Kira, Uganda. You can see several women holding their new smartphones. Living Goods' mobile technology enables Health Promoters to accurately diagnose sick children, register pregnant women, and helps with reminders and tracking follow ups. Thanks to support from our donors, Living Goods' network of Community Health Promoters has grown to over 3,000 in 2015. With your support, we can reach even more women and children in 2016. Our goal is to grow to more than 6,000 Community Health Promoters. Together, these door-to-door health entrepreneurs serve families in their communities, providing life-saving, life-changing products like treatments for malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea, solar lights, fortified foods, clean cookstoves, and many others. You can read more about Living Goods' work in a recent Fast Company Co.EXIST article here.
Set up a matching fundraiser with Charity Science / Treating non-enrolled school-age children in Malawi
Charity Science is running an incredible Christmas fundraiser, offering to QUADRUPLE donations to SCI.

Allan Saldanha, a member of Giving What We Can in Britain, is donating his holiday to charity by running a quadrupling match fundraiser for SCI through, aiming to raise £32,000 by Christmas Day.   If you live in the U.K., take advantage of this incredible opportunity to make your support for SCI’s work go even further! If you live elsewhere, consider setting up an SCI fundraiser in your own currency. Go to Charity Science's website or contact Joey Savoie at
It is an exciting time for SCI, with the increased availability of praziquantel (PZQ), thanks to the generous donation from Merck KGaA. As a result, mass drug administration (MDA) programmes for schistosomiasis (SCH) are expanding and having an incredible impact across sub-saharan Africa. While there are many success stories to share, the work being done in Malawi is of special note.

Having efficiently rolled out a national school-based deworming programme, attention in Malawi has now shifted to increasing uptake of treatment amongst non-enrolled school-age children (SAC). Children who aren’t enrolled in school are thought to be at even greater risk of infection than those attending school because they do not receive health education regarding prevention and treatment of these diseases, and they miss out on receiving the treatment itself.  Read More
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