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March, 2016

I recently traveled back to my old home territory to give talks about The Life You Can Save at MIT and Harvard business schools. There is an old saying speakers use to acknowledge their audiences that goes something like, "There are more good ideas in front of me than there are in front of you." That was so obvious as I listened to and got to know some of my audience in informal meetings. 

I am excited to see people roughly my children's age (25-35) who, like my own children, are so engaged in trying to figure out how, in Peter Singer's words, "to do the most good."  I am aware that often we will come to different answers -- some like us at The Life You Can Save will focus on fighting the devastating  effects of extreme poverty (by such campaigns as running the London Marathon, walking across southern Africa, and crowdsourcing), while others will work in advocacy or "sustainable development."  

But all of us are thinking about how to be effective, how to add incremental value, how to have the most impact or potential impact. I will be heading back to Massachusetts in April to coordinate a discussion, including some of the folks I met, on how to develop The Life You Can Save into the most impactful organization possible. I am excited to hear the wisdom and creativity of the folks that will attend the retreat and I am hoping that all of you who read this newsletter also feel comfortable contacting me with your thoughts about how to grow the reach of The Life You Can Save!

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 March's Issue


Charity Voices


Highlights from Our Blog


Team Picks


This Month in Giving

Charity Voices
Recent News from our Recommended Charities
High tech solutions in low-tech countries--Biometrics in Uganda
GiveDirectly Country Director Joe Huston registers and verifies recipients using biometrics at a payout in Uganda.

How do you verify individuals’ identities in a country where identification documentation is not prevalent and personal data is non-existent?

In fact, this is a massive problem faced by anti-poverty programs worldwide. Organizations from national governments to NGOs struggle with how to accurately and safely identify their beneficiaries, especially in regions that lack reliable infrastructure for this purpose.

This is also a specific challenge GiveDirectly faced in Uganda. In order to implement our cash transfer program, we need to verify identities during multiple steps in the process. Yet only about 5% of our recipients have nationally-recognized documentation and, of those who do, most have paper-based documentation that can be imitated.

To learn about GiveDirectly's answer to this dilemma--a palm vein reader--go here.

SCI's £10,000 matching campaign is a marathon--really!
SCI's Dr. Mike French

Dr. Mike French, Senior Programme Manager for SCI, has entered the 2016 London Marathon on April 24th to raise £10,000 for SCI.  If he succeeds, we will be able to provide 30,000 more treatments to people suffering from schistosomiasis and related diseases across the world.  He’s already started his training in Addis Ababa, but now we need your help.

For every £1 donated to Mike's fundraising page, another £1 of match funding will be donated by a generous SCI supporter.

Your gifts bring medical care and hope to thousands of families.  Today, thirty thousand more children are counting on your support (and on Mike’s feet) for treatment.  Please give Mike a little push and sponsor him today  Can we turn 30,000 treatments into 60,000?

Keep updated on how Mike's training in Addis Ababa is going via his blog.

Impact Matters Audit
© Possible

Innovations for Poverty Action--a charity recommended by The Life You Can Save for its rigorous work testing and promoting new effective poverty interventions, is incubating a new charity evaluator--Impact Matters.

Founded by IPA President Dean Karlan, Impact Matters' goals are to conduct audits that:

1. Give feedback to the nonprofit organization being audited on how to use and produce appropriate evidence.

2. Certify to donors that the nonprofit is appropriately evidence-based.

One of the first four organizations ImpactMatters has audited and recommended is Possible, which delivers quality healthcare to remote and poverty-stricken people in Nepal and is also one of The Life You Can Save's recommended charities.  

The audit concludes that, "Possible improves health outcomes among people who otherwise lack high quality care, and improves health care access and health outcomes for the marginalized." 

To see the entire audit, click here.

Help provide eye care for 8,000 Guatemalans
Seva Foundation is announcing its second social media crowdfunding campaign to prevent blindness in Guatemala. Due to lack of access to eye care services, an estimated 62,000 Guatemalans are blind and an estimated 31,000 of those are blind from cataract. This can be cured with a cost-effective, 15-minute surgery. There is a great need for expanded access to low-cost, high-quality eye care services.

Seva’s crowdfunding campaign will cover the cost of comprehensive examinations to help provide vital sight-saving eye care services to 8,000 Guatemalans in need.

Check out more about the campaign here: Donate, share, and spread the word!
Highlights from Our Blog
  1. How to Give Like Bill Gates, Even If You Have Little to Give by Brad Hurley

  2. Interview: How One Man Is Trekking a Continent and Taking on a Cause by Rhema Hokama

  3. 9 Strategies for Effective Donors by Gleb Tsipursky

Team Picks

Last month I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Max Bazerman, who attended a talk I gave at Harvard Graduate School of Business, where he teaches.   Although his work on decision-making, negotiation and ethics is not directly related to TLYCS's mission, it is highly relevant and he is sympathetic to Peter's work on ethics, extreme poverty, and animal rights. I suggest others check it out (including his award-winning book "Negotiation Genius").

Charlie Bresler 
Executive Director

The $5 bill is Australia's only paper currency that does not (yet) honor a great Australian. Our recommended charity, The Fred Hollows Foundation, is leading a campaign to "Put Fred on the Fiver,"  just in time for the Reserve Bank's plan to update it. During Fred's Lifetime, $5 was the price of a sight-saving intraocular device, and even today, only five 5's are needed (A$25) to restore sight in some countries where FHF works. Sign the petition to show your support.

Jon Behar 
COO & Director of Philanthropy Education

Charlie shared this piece from the New York Times with me--hope you find it as amusing as we did.

Amy Schwimmer 
Director of Operations

This Month in Giving

International Women's Day

Visit the IWD website to see events in your area celebrating how far we've come (#IWD2016) and to pledge your support for ensuring that progress continues and accelerates (#PledgeForParity). Also see the many charities we recommend that have terrific impact on improving lives of women and girls living in extreme poverty.


World Water Day

The theme of the United Nation's 2016 World Water Day is "Better Water, Better Jobs," looking at the power that water and jobs have to transform lives. Go to the WWD website to see how water is work, art, and change. And support Evidence Action's Dispensers for Safe Water to bring fresh water to those in extreme poverty.

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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