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February, 2016

We're proud to release our 2015 annual report which details the impact of our organization's activities. The numbers show we're making substantial progress in spreading our message about effective giving.  We estimate that we moved $1.55 million to our recommended charities in 2015 (about double what we raised in 2014) while spending less than $300,000. This is a conservative estimate of our money moved; as discussed in the report, one could argue we influenced ~$5M more. Our web traffic has also grown significantly.  There were close to 400,000 sessions on our website last year, up almost 80% for the year.

We hope you'll take time to read the report and that it leaves you as excited about our trajectory as we are! 

Another reflection of our impact is in the great accounts we've been getting from followers about creative ways they are spreading the idea of Effective Philanthropy to their circles of family, friends and coworkers, thus multiplying their giving to our recommended effective charities. 

Jonathon Smith was grappling with contradictory impulses of wanting to share his passion for effective giving versus his concern about over-proselytizing. His solution: run a mini-Giving Game at his family’s holiday get-together in Alaska. Jennifer Korman did not have much money to spare for the giving impact she aspired to make, so she leveraged her existing passions and skills to identify and fill a niche with Headshots4Hunger. Gleb Tsipursky used our Impact Calculator to help him picture the many people he could help through effective giving, thus overcoming the human tendency towards ignoring the millions living in extreme poverty globally because of “attentional bias”. Gleb also shares how he and his wife have started a new Valentine's gift tradition that expresses their love far more than flowers and chocolate.

You can read more about these stories in the blogs linked above and below.

And in our Supporter Story section this month, we catch up with Alison Banks in South Australia, who we reported in our mid-November newsletter was donating her birthday/holiday party to charity, to see how the event went.

As our Girl in the Pond video says, “forget about a drop in the bucket--we’re starting a wave.”  This is all so exciting! Thanks so much to all of you who are using your resources and creativity to spread the word and do wonderful things to fight the devastating effects of 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 February's Issue


Charity Voices


Highlights from Our Blog


Team Picks


Supporter Story


This Month in Giving

Charity Voices
Effective charities; Remarkable impact
Saving and improving lives--through iodine, radio and contraception
Who needs superheroes when we've got "The man who saved a million brains"?
Cres Eastman in Tibet. Photo courtesy of Mu Li and Cres Eastman.  

Endocrinologist & longstanding IGN Board Member Creswell (Cres) Eastman does crucial work leading projects to prevent and abolish birth defects caused by Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) throughout the developing world.

Children born to mothers deficient in iodine can suffer a range of defects including mental retardation, deafness, and speech and physical impairments.

Over the past decades, Cres and his teams have been effective in Malaysia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, China and Tibet. His transformative work with populations in remote areas of China led him to be dubbed "the man who saved a million brains". During his first visits to Tibet, Cres discovered that 13 percent of the population were born with cretinism as the result of iodine deficiency.

Cres' current focus is on the recurring problem of IDD in Australian and Thai populations. He is concerned that IDD may be affecting the ability of Australian children, particularly Indigenous Australian children, to perform at school.

Further information:
Cres is Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Sydney Medical School, and Principal of the Sydney Thyroid Clinic at the Westmead Specialist Centre in Sydney. He is also a long-standing member of the Iodine Global Network's Board of Directors.
On World Radio Day, DMI celebrates this communication lifeline
Radio Tintaani in Kantchari, Burkina Faso
Photo courtesy of DMI

DMI will be marking World Radio Day on February 13th by celebrating its partnership with radio stations across Burkina Faso. Since 2012, DMI has been working closely with these stations to run a child survival radio campaign. By broadcasting live-saving health messages - contained in 60 second spots and longer dramas - the radio stations are playing a pivotal role in reducing the number of under-5 child deaths in Burkina Faso.

A big thank you to all of our Burkinabé radio partners!

Watch DMI’s film about our Radio Partners
Read about DMI’s work in Burkina Faso

Support us
DMI is looking to raise $12m in the next two years to scale up child survival radio and TV campaigns in Mozambique, DRC, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Mali and Niger. Our immediate priority is to raise an additional $2m to enable us to launch our INTENSAÚDE child survival campaign in Mozambique (for which we have already raised $2.5m). Please consider supporting this exciting project. 

Read about INTENSAÚDE | Read about all future campaigns

Addressing unmet family planning needs with a woman's condom
Click image to hear an audio advertisement in Chichewa, the national language of Mali, with subtitled translation

Population Services International (PSI) Malawi has launched a new female condom called Whisper.

Speaking in Lilongwe during the launch, PSI Country Representative Sarah Makunganya Gibson said Whisper woman's condom is a new type of contraceptive which offers non-hormonal protection against unintended pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

Ms. Gibson explained that the product is made from non-latex, transparent film that is softer and thinner than other condoms, which allows for increased sensation for both partners. The improved design, with the outer ring hugging the body, provides a more secure and comfortable fit. It is easy to insert, wear, and remove. 

The product has a proven 95 percent effectiveness and won't break with typical use. There are no known health risks, with clinical studies showing that it is as safe as other female condom products.

Go here to see a fact sheet about the unmet need for family planning in Mali.

Highlights from Our Blog
  1. The Valentine’s Day Gift That Saves Lives by Gleb Tsipursky

  2. How I Used My Passion to Raise Money for Charity by Jennifer Korman

  3. How I Celebrated the Holidays with a Giving Game by Jonathon Smith

  4. How a Calculator Helped me Multiply My Giving by Gleb Tsipursky

Team Picks

Kevin Starr reflects on his transition from "clueless young do-gooder" to leading a foundation "focused on poverty and obsessed with real impact at scale." 

Jon Behar 
COO & Director of Philanthropy Education

George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" is a timeless rumination about what does and doesn't make clear, cogent writing; the essay applies to any person of any age in any language--even to politicians! In his usual wry manner, Orwell notes the "special connection between politics and the debasement of language". He lays out writing rules including asking oneself: "Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?"  

Amy Schwimmer 
Director of Operations

Photo: Al_HikesAZ

Maintaining my sense of optimism and energy is always a challenge. The poem "The Peace of Wild Things", by Wendell Berry, sits on my desk and helps.


Charlie Bresler 
Executive Director

Supporter Story

 Donating your party to charity.

Alison (in white) with her children.

In November, we shared the plans of Alison Banks, a follower in Southwest Austraila, whose invitation to her December holiday/birthday party asked guests to look at The Life You Can Save's list and information about recommended charities and to make donations to these in lieu of gifts.

Alison checked back in with us after the celebration and shared an account of how well it went.

At the party, Alison "asked everyone to fill in a brief form (tick the charity and then say how much) and to drop this form into a bowl." The tallied results came to A$2350, and Alison knows even more was raised, as not everyone got round to filling  out the form (perhaps they were too stunned by the 43 degree celsius heat!)

Another idea came from Alison's artistic friend. She and her partner made beautiful greeting cards which Alison is putting out in her office's staff area to sell; she'll donate the proceeds to The Life You Can Save charities.

If you have a Supporter Story to share, please do so on our website.

This Month in Giving

International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation  #EndFGM

An estimated 100 million to 140 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM. UNFPA and Unicef jointly lead the largest global program to reduce and ultimately eliminate FGM.


World Radio Day

The UNESCO theme for World Radio Day 2016 is “Radio in Times of Emergency and Disaster”.  Radio is the most widely used media worldwide, especially in Africa. See Development Media International's work producing engaging radio ads and stories to raise health awareness and reduce child mortality. And go to the World Radio Day website to get and share great information and ideas.


Valentine's Day

Think outside the chocolates box! Read Gleb Tsipursky's blog to see how he and his wife started a new Valentine's gift tradition that is truly about love.

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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