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October, 2015

As Executive Director, a significant part of my role involves speaking to different types of groups and individuals about extreme poverty, effective giving, our recommended charities, and fundraising for those charities as well as for The Life You Can Save (TLYCS). Performing this role has made the last several weeks particularly busy and exciting. I have met with prospective donors in Portland, Oregon; Los Angeles; Prague (Czech Republic); Worcester, Massachusetts; and New York.

During this time, I presented TLYCS, our recommended charities, and the basics of “effective altruism” to a group of very influential people in the Czech Republic (Prague) and at the school where I received my Ph.D. in social/clinical psychology, Clark University in Massachusetts. We also had an amazing benefit concert in New York performed by Paul Simon, a friend of Peter's, for Fistula Foundation, at the home of a generous philanthropist. The intimate audience of thirty-eight people raised about $190,000 and we all made some wonderful contacts for future involvement. Peter Singer and his wife, Renata, attended, as did Kate Grant, Fistula Foundation’s CEO. A side benefit of being in NY then was that Peter and I got to go to a bar (after midnight) and watch the live telecast of the Grand Final of the Australian Rules Football League. Peter is an enthusiastic fan of the game, and his team, Hawthorne, won for the third year in a row!

Meanwhile our talented staff have been holding down the fort internally. Rhema Hokama, our newest staff member, who just finished her Ph.D. in English Literature at Harvard University, has been working with our volunteer bloggers to add better and better content, including her own piece exploring Where American Donors Go Wrong and Elisabeth Meister’s The Busy Person’s Guide to Charitable Giving.  Jon Behar, our COO and Director of Philanthropy Education, has written an interesting blog discussing the metrics around his primary interest, Giving Games. 

Our content, subscriptions and donations are growing at a healthy pace. We are now preparing our push for Giving Season 2015! I am confident as we secure more funding, we can make even more of an impact. So stay tuned... And thanks for your support!

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 October's Issue


Charity Voices


Highlights from Our Blog


Team Picks


This Month in Giving

Charity Voices
Our Recommended Charities share items of interest and plans for growth.
The Impact of Voter Knowledge Initiatives in Sierra Leone
Photo by Glenna Gordon. 2011.

While political debates are often considered an integral part of campaign strategy, there is little definitive evidence on whether they affect how people vote. In Sierra Leone, researchers evaluated how the dissemination of political information through debates impacts voter behavior, campaign spending, and the performance of elected politicians. The study found that watching debates substantially increased political knowledge, policy alignment, and vote shares for higher-quality candidates.

Read Study

Rebuilding Nepal in partnership with Cathay Pacific Airways: Saving on air fares allows more "solving for the patient".
Rigita, who suffered from epilepsy for years, has her health back thanks to Possible.                                                                Photo © Possible
At Possible, we're rebuilding Nepal’s healthcare system with immense support from Cathay Pacific Airways.

Healthcare delivery is a highly technical endeavor, and we must constantly be bringing the best global innovations and ideas in medical science, management, and technology to serve our patients.

Possible is also a global team. We have team members all over the world, from rural Nepal to New York City.

By working with Cathay Pacific Airways, our team can travel back and forth from Nepal free of cost, which allows us to use the money saved on airfare directly for patient care. This is especially crucial in the wake of the earthquakes this spring and our decision to rebuild the healthcare system in one of the worst-hit districts in Nepal.

That’s why our work with Cathay Pacific Airways is more than a partnership — it is crucial to our #1 Rule: Solving For the Patient. The money saved from our partnership allows us to reach an additional 13,125 patients, including Rigita, who has battled epilepsy for years. 

Read More about Rigita and how this innovative partnership enables us to deliver her high-quality, low-cost care.
At the Clinton Global Initiative, commitment to serve over 7 million people in need

At the Clinton Global Initiative in September, Living Goods committed to dramatically scale the reach of its proven community health entrepreneur platform to serve over 7 million people in need across Uganda, Kenya, Zambia and Myanmar. To achieve its impact, Living Goods is working with such forward thinking NGOs as BRAC, PSI (another of TLYCS's recommended charities), and CARE.

Read more.

A Momentous Achievement for Burundi and PHC: Food Fortification Decree Signed
[Image attribution/caption]

Burundi’s food fortification program took an enormous step forward with the signing of the Presidential Fortification Decree! As of March 2016, after the established grace period, fortification will be mandatory for all importers and domestic producers. And premix has been declared VAT free, significantly reducing the price of fortification for producers. These achievements will make an enormous impact on the lives of millions of women and children throughout the country.
The fortification decree applies to wheat, cassava, and maize flour; cooking oil; and salt. The standards follow adopted ECSA fortification standards as recommended by PHC and regional experts.
Over the next several months, PHC will work closely with the Bureau of Standards to ensure inspectors adhere to the required sampling and testing plan, results are reported back to stakeholders using Burundi’s Fortification Monitoring Tool, and industry are provided with further technical assistance. The coming weeks will see the decree printed in three national newspapers for public announcement.
Despite ongoing political turmoil and violence, strong leadership and committed industry did not let the situation thwart efforts to make fortification a reality. If progress continues at this pace, the program here will be on track to ensure all industry is producing adequately fortified food by the end of 2016

Highlights from Our Blog
  1. Where American Donors Go Wrong by Rhema Hokama

  2. The Busy Person's Guide to Charitable Giving by Elisabeth Meister

  3. This Year's Recap of Giving Games Metrics by Jon Behar

Team Picks

A new book that digs behind the lives and choices of extreme Effective Altruists takes its title from Peter Singer's "Girl in the Pond" metaphor. The New York Times says of author Larissa MacFarquhar, "This writer does so many things well in ‘Strangers Drowning’ that it’s hard to know where to begin."

Amy Schwimmer 
Director of Operations

The new Money for Good study is a treasure-trove of information for anyone thinking about how to help donors get more impact from their giving.

Jon Behar 
COO & Director of Philanthropy Education

This Month in Giving

World Sight Day

Through Seva and the Fred Hollows Foundation, you can help restore sight for some of the 285 million people in the poorest parts of the world living with blindness or visual impairment--80% of it preventable or treatable.


World Food Day

Oxfam America offers five conversation starters to bring to your table and information about inequality in food resources to many farmers in the poorest countries. Others of our Recommended Charities making substantial impact on this front from the crucial perspective of micronutrient fortification, costing only pennies per person, are Project Health Children, GAIN, and Iodine Global Network.


International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

2015's theme is "Building a sustainable future: Coming together to end poverty and discrimination". All of The Life You Can Save's Recommended Charities are doing extremely cost-effective, large-scale and sustainable work towards just that goal. 


A Conversation About Altruism: Mattieu Ricard and Peter Singer

A public lecture at Princeton University, sponsored by the University Center for Human Values

McCosh Hall 50, Princeton University
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

More information:

The Life You Can Save is a 501(c)(3) - an official non-profit registered with the United States Internal Revenue Service. Donations to The Life You Can Save are tax-deductible to individuals filing taxes in the U.S.
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