James Poetzscher: Teen Founder of Checkmate COVID

Using Chess to Fight the Coronavirus

The Covid-19 crisis has brought the world to its knees, but it has also brought out the best in some. People old and young from all walks of life are doing what they can to help those who are fighting the pandemic and those affected by it. Some are supporting frontline healthcare workers by collecting and donating PPE, some are involved with food drives to feed the hungry, and others are raising funds to support these initiatives and others like it. So many people are doing their part by using their unique talents and the resources available to them to help humanity get through the biggest health crisis the world has seen this century. One of the inspirational people using the tools at their disposal to make a difference is James Poetzscher, a high school student with a love for chess and a compassionate heart.

The Humble Beginnings of Checkmate COVID

As lockdowns were implemented in countries around the world, schools and companies temporarily shut their doors, leaving people confined at home with a lot of time to pursue projects. James Poetzscher and two of his friends, Jack Jacobsen and Felix Kaye, spent a lot of this free time playing chess. Poetzscher and the two other intrepid teens decided to use their passion for the game to raise funds for Covid-19 relief efforts. They held an online chess tournament with 32 participants and gave the winner $100 of their own money to donate to a Covid-19 charity. This modest beginning turned out to be a huge success and led to further tournaments, eventually bringing in sponsorships from organizations like San Francisco University High School, Cathedral School for Boys, Solid Gold, Sabbatical Ventures, and Branson.

James Poetzscher

James Poetzscher

A Growing Initiative

Players from all over are now taking part in the online chess tournaments organized by James Poetzscher and the Checkmate COVID team. Links to tournament results are published on the organization’s website, and the winner of each tournament gets to choose to which Covid-19 charity the prize money is donated.





Charities approved by Checkmate COVID include:

James Poetzscher – Social Activism in Other Fields

Fast becoming known as a formidable young philanthropist, James Poetzscher is not only focusing his attention on using chess to fight the pandemic. He is also the force behind Greenhouse Maps, a website he created to track atmospheric gases using satellites. Having developed an interest in greenhouse emissions and satellite tracking at a young age, Poetzscher realized that there was very little information about this available online. After extensively researching the issue, he constructed a website that would provide quality tracking data. Since then, Poetzscher has been mapping global air pollution with the European Environmental Bureau and has published several papers on the topic.





The World Vs. Racism and Police Brutality

“I Can’t Breathe”

Three words that will hereafter always hold significance to the world. They are the last words of George Floyd, a man choked to death by an officer of the law. They are also the words that have been resonating across continents and oceans, starting a global wave of anger and revolt against racism and police brutality.

Side by Side All Over the World, in Solidarity

It began in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the U.S. and spread like wildfire to countries everywhere in a variety of forms. Some of the demonstrations have been violent—riots filled with noise, fire, aggression, righteous anger, rubber bullets, and teargas. Others have been peaceful, silent, and respectful of the man who uttered his last breath to begin one of the biggest objections to racial injustice the world has ever seen. But no matter what form the protests are taking, the sentiment is the same. The world is standing in solidarity for justice, saying enough is enough.

BLM protest 2020 04

Protesting Racism in Radically Different Ways

As thousands of protesters took to the streets, profoundly different scenarios unfolded. At some protests, people have been gathering peacefully, simply march en masse holding placards reading “Black Lives Matter,” “I Can’t Breathe,” and other slogans. News of protests like these has come from cities in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region. Several silent protests were held in German cities. In Johannesburg, South Africa, protestors placed flower arrangements at the American consulate in solidarity with global protestors and in honor of South Africans who died at the hands of local law enforcement. In Bristol, U.K., demonstrators laid face down on the ground for eight minutes and 46 seconds, echoing the time the police officer pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck until he died.

Racism is a Pandemic, #BLM Protest in Peckham, London IMGP2548

Not All Protests Have Been So Passive

In the U.S., many of the rallies became destructive as people started looting shops, and violent clashes between protestors and police broke out. In France, police fired tear gas and used pepper spray on protestors who flung rocks and bottles at officers. In London, tensions bubbled over and demonstrators launched flares, bottles, and other objects at mounted officers who charged at them. One of the horses charged into a traffic light and unseated the police officer in the process. Other violent demonstrations have been more about conveying a powerful message, like the forced removal or defacement of statues around the world.

BLM Protest-Washington DC


Statues venerating Christopher Columbus and Confederate leaders were defaced all over the U.S. A statue of Columbus was beheaded in Boston, one was torn down in Minneapolis, and yet another statue of the 15th century explorer was dumped in a pond in Richmond. Similarly, statues across the U.K. with links to Britain’s colonial past and slave trade have been torn down and some “drowned.” Madeline Odent, an Oxford-educated curator, tweeted information on how to use corrosive household chemicals to dissolve bronze statues. She is now under investigation but has been met with widespread veneration.

Although George Floyd most likely will not be the last, the demonstrations raging across the globe have been helping to create awareness of the problem and that people are no longer putting up with it.

Some resources:

  1. Black Lives Matter
  2. NAACP
  3. The Show Must Be Paused
  4. Reclaim the Block

Plan International – Paving the Way for Girls

Plan International – Equality Is Essential

We are living in a time when it is critical to bring the rights of young women to the fore. They need to be supported and inspired to smash gender barriers obstructing their ability to live their lives equally and with courage. Launched in 1937, Plan International is an organization focused on achieving equality for all young women around the world. The organization works with partners and individuals on initiatives that:

  •  Empower young people, particularly young women
  • Tackle the underlying causes of discrimination against young women
  • Drive change in practice and policy affecting young women locally and nationally
  • Support young women in a way that enables them to safely and successfully progress from childhood to adulthood

Plan International Booth - Fueling Station WD2019

Since its launch, the organization has reached millions of young women in 77 countries across the globe. In striving for a just and equal world, Plan International is engaged in two major projects aimed at equality for young women: Because I am a Girl and Girls Get Equal.

Because I Am a Girl

This global campaign was launched in 2012 on the first International Day of the Girl. It is focused on securing educational opportunities and support for young women so they can stand up and effect positive change in their lives. The main objective of the Because I Am a Girl initiative is to help young women knock down the barriers that keep them from reaching their full potential. Through this campaign, they are given the opportunity to become aware of their rights and their power instead of succumbing to discrimination that leads to a lack of proper education or coercion into childhood marriage and pregnancy. Over the course of four years, the Because I am a Girl campaign raised hundreds of millions of euros and helped millions of young women receive an education. The campaign was also instrumental in changing laws in several countries.

Plan International Bilboard

Girls Get Equal

The Girls Get Equal initiative is Plan International’s biggest social-change campaign. It was launched on 50 online and social media channels and on a select range of television markets. The idea behind Girls Get Equal is to give young women the necessary support to achieve equality. Young women everywhere have historically been ignored, silenced, undermined, underestimated, and undervalued, and the time has come for change. With every action taken through this campaign, whether it is with marches, public speaking, or text, young women across the world are standing in solidarity. They are becoming a united voice against gender inequality, gender-based violence and abuse, discrimination, and human rights violations. The campaign wants every young woman to be free and be able to speak up without fear of harassment. Girls Get Equal is the start of an ongoing initiative envisioned as a collaboration that will continue for several years.

Plan International Booth - Fueling Station WD2019

Equality IS Possible

Through the work of organizations like Plan International, the world is beginning to realize the inherent potential that young women have when they are treated as equals.

10 Companies Giving to Covid-19 Relief

Shop These Brands That Give Back

Millions of people around the world are suffering with emotional and financial burdens caused by the coronavirus pandemic. While some businesses have had to close their doors, others that are still making ends meet have been opening their hearts and helping to raise funds for Covid-19 relief efforts. From grocery stores to dog food outlets to skincare and shoe brands, here are ten companies that are using their sales to help others.

  1. American Family Insurance – Since fewer people are on the roads and there are fewer accidents, insurance companies currently have lower costs. American Family Insurance is planning to return approximately $200 million to its customers through a $50 per vehicle insured initiative. foundation guide - brands donating to covid-19 relief
  2. Rhone – The activewear brand is donating 10% of all its profits to the Direct Relief Foundation, a nonpartisan organization currently assisting healthcare facilities with financial aid and equipment.
  3. Allbirds – This sneaker company has donated shoes valued at $500,000 to healthcare workers. It is also involved with the Better Together initiative through which a pair of shoes is donated to a healthcare worker for every pair bought. Shoppers can also donate a pair of Allbirds to a healthcare worker at a discounted price.
  4. SummerSalt – For every order of $125 or more spent in the store, the women’s swimwear, sleepwear and loungewear supplier donates $15 to No Kid Hungry’s Covid-19 relief efforts. foundation guide - brands who donate for covid-19 relief
  5. Backcountry – The sport and outdoor gear company has donated 9,000 masks to New York City’s Department of Homeless Services. It is planning to make yet another donation to the homeless and is raising funds through the sale of special-edition t-shirts.
  6. Thrive Market – Even before the pandemic, the online grocery store had an incentive in which it gave away a free membership to a low-income family, first responder, student, or veteran for every paid membership. Currently, all donations at checkout go towards groceries to those affected by Covid-19.
  7. Olivela – This skincare company supports No Kid Hungry and Save the Children, both of which are organizations helping to provide food to children who cannot attend school because of closures. For every purchase made, Olivela donates 20% to a family in need. foundation guide - brands that donate for covid-19 relief
  8. Otherland – This high-end candle company is donating 10% of all sales to food banks that operate in New York City.
  9. Chewy – The online pet supply store has donated nearly $3 million in healthcare supplies, pet food, and other products to animal welfare organizations. At the start of the pandemic, Chewy joined forces with the Humane Society of Broward County and has helped distribute more than $24,000 in food to local families.
  10. Boll & Branch – Shoppers who buy linen, pillows, mattresses, bath accessories, or gifts from this home store will get a 10% discount and an additional 10% will go towards funding the production of pillows and mattresses for emergency medical care facilities.

Lever for Change – Geared to Combat Climate Change

On a Mission to Reduce GHG Emissions by 2030

The harsh reality of climate change is becoming more apparent every day, and so is the need to find sustainable solutions to combat this crisis. Hundreds of millions of lives, innumerable species and ecosystems, as well as the future of the planet are at stake. Fortunately, we have the science and technologies to help cut emissions, remove carbon dioxide and offset its effects.

There is a global shift towards finding energy sources that don’t damage the environment and cause climate change, and organizations like Lever for Change are driving this.

Foundation Guide - Lever for Change 2030 climate challenge

About Lever for Change

Lever for Change is on a mission to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030. To achieve this, they’ve taken an innovative approach by launching a national competition for applicants working towards fighting climate change. The prize is a staggering $10 million grant to further their efforts. This substantial amount is sponsored by an anonymous donor committed to the cause. In addition to the 2030 Climate Challenge, Lever for Change also manages five other competitions with prizes that range between $10 million and $100 million. This includes the Lone Star Prize, a $10 million award for an innovative solution that deals with health, environment and workforce in Texas, and the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award which involves a $12 million prize to an innovative solution that supports the wellbeing of refugees around the globe.

Lever for Change is an affiliate of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, known for unlocking capital to accelerate social change around the world. Since it was launched, Lever for Change has managed nine competitions that will ultimately address a variety of issues including reducing GHG emissions, improving economic mobility, assisting refugees to secure a durable and positive future and increasing the power and influence women hold in the United States.

GHG on Warning Road Sign.

The 2030 Climate Challenge

The challenge is open to proposals from organizations with a lead applicant registered as a non-profit or academic institution. All other entities may participate as part of a coalition led by an eligible applicant. Proposals should offer solutions that tackle the issue of GHG emissions in the transportation, industrial and/or building industries with the ultimate goal of eradicating it in the next decade. The solutions should be feasible, scalable and should make a durable impact. All applicants will receive constructive feedback from judges and will be further assisted with access to a variety of peer learning opportunities and webinars. Selected applicants will also be given access to other resources like coaching and workshops.

Maximizing Philanthropy

Even if they don’t receive the prize, the proposals that rank the highest will be included in the Bold Solutions Network, an innovative approach to identifying solutions that are aligned with the philanthropic goals of donors. The network is presented as a searchable online database of highly-rated proposals where philanthropists interested in social change can find worthy projects to support.
People with banners protest as part of a climate change march

Donating PPE for Healthcare Workers Fighting Covid-19

Everyone Can Help Fill the Medical Supply Gap

As hospitals around the world are running out of personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks, gloves, face shields, protective gowns, and other key components, it is up to every organization, and indeed every individual, to do their part to help. PPE is one of the most important things hospitals need right now in the ongoing battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. It is the only way to protect healthcare workers on the front lines of the crisis. Currently, hospitals are working with strict rations and recycling protocols as they deal with shortages.

Foundation Guide - donating PPE for healthcare workers

What Is Being Done About This?

As supplies are dwindling, some doctors and nurses have started raising awareness of their plight on social media platforms with the hashtag #GetMePPE. Governments have started initiatives to spur on the manufacturing of PPE items. Large corporations have made bulk donations, and businesses including dentists, nail salons, and construction firms have donated their stocks as well. Companies with the appropriate equipment and employees are also being encouraged by governments to begin manufacturing PPE. In addition, volunteers across the globe are trying to help by sewing masks, and companies with 3D-printing equipment have been printing shields. Nevertheless, even with all this positive action, there is still a significant shortage of PPE. As a result, medical workers have even started reusing masks and improvising with bandanas, scarves, and plastic bags.

Fortunately, it is not only up to governments and PPE manufacturers to keep up with the drastically increased demand. There are so many people who can do something to help get these supplies to the workers in dire need of them.

Foundation Guide - donating PPE for healthcare workers

How You Can Help

If you have unused medical supplies, get in touch with your local hospital or clinics or search the internet for where you can donate them. Bear in mind that not all healthcare facilities accept homemade face masks for use by front-line healthcare workers. They may, however, use them for support workers like admin, reception, and cleaning staff. Don’t forget other first responders, like firefighters and police officers, who are often also directly exposed.

Even if you don’t have PPE to donate, you can still help by raising awareness of the situation. Sharing information on social media can allow for it to eventually reach somebody or a company that has supplies they can donate. Other ways to help include supporting initiatives like:

  • Project C.U.R.E – An NGO that is holding several donation drives in various cities while observing social distancing measures.
  • Find the Masks – A website with a map where people can find medical facilities in their area to donate PPE.
  • Operation We Can Sew It! – An initiative in which volunteers are sewing protective masks for a hospital in Colorado.

Only with the necessary gear can healthcare workers continue to safely care for Covid-19 patients fighting for their lives. Without these people, we may as well be entering a war with no soldiers. Protecting them must be a major priority for everyone.


The Australian Fires: How You Can Help

Donating Money is Not the Only Way to Do Your Part

So far, over 46 million acres of land has burned in Australia during the 2019 – 2020 bushfire season. Nearly 6,000 buildings have been destroyed of which over 2,800 were homes. At least 33 people and around a billion animals have been killed. Some endangered species have now been driven to extinction. For koalas, this epic disaster could mean functional extinction since around 80% of their natural habitat has been wiped out. Experts believe that it could take as much as a century for Australia’s animals to recover from the bushfires.

Not Just Australia Is Affected

In a world where biodiversity is in drastic decline, the impact these fires have on the local ecosystem, and ultimately our global food production, is potentially devastating. Some of the other areas affected by these devastating fires include:

  • Public health, including mental health.
  • Economic damage to industries like farming and tourism.
  • An increase in greenhouse gas emissions which negatively impacts the climate.
  • Major environmental pollution even as far as New Zealand and parts of Latin America.
Property damaged by the East Gippsland fires in Sarsfield

Property damaged by the East Gippsland fires in Sarsfield, Victoria, Australia January 1, 2020. AAP Image/News Corp Pool, Jason Edwards/via REUTERS

How Can We Help?

The destruction has left the world reeling and many of us are wondering how we can help. It is encouraging to see how people from all over the world are doing their best to assist those affected by these devastating fires. Even a courageous dog did her part. A six-year-old Border collie named Patsy helped save her owner’s farm and livestock during the fires when she led 900 sheep to safety as the fires raged. While financial donations are the obvious way to help, t there are other ways in which we can help. Here are some ideas:

  • Check-in with trusted sources like local councils and emergency services agencies – They are the ones who know exactly what is
    going on and what is needed and will provide essential, current information on the disaster situation and what help is needed at the
  • Book a holiday to Australia – By going on holiday to Australia later in the year, you will be contributing to struggling local economies.
    When deciding which tour operators or hotels to use, try to choose those who have strong links to conservation. While the carbon
    footprint of long-haul flights is unavoidable, you could offset some of it by giving to a tree-planting organisation like Tree Sisters.
  • Offer a bed – If you own property in Australia or are in an area that is not affected and have a bed or two to spare, you can use the
    Find a Bed initiative to offer space to people and animals who have been displaced by the fires.
  • Donate goods – There are people who have literally lost everything they owned. Their homes and all their belongings have
    succumbed to the fire or have been damaged by the vast quantities of smoke and ash in surrounding areas. Through organisations
    like Givit, you can donate furniture, household items, clothing, or toiletries to those who need it.
  • Volunteer – Even when the fires are contained, Australia will be going through a long recovery and rebuilding process. As soon as the
    immediate danger has passed and professionals like firefighters have left the area, the people left behind will have all kinds of needs.
    If you reside in Australia or want to travel there to help, there is also the option to register as a Spontaneous Emergency Volunteer.

Who to Donate to

For those who prefer to make financial donations, there are several options. It may not be clear exactly which organisation to support, even when you know which cause is closest to your heart. Here is some guidance on how to support people affected by the fires, wildlife, or the firefighters who are fighting this incredible battle to contain the fire.

Australian bushfire: trees silhouettes and smoke from bushfires covers the sky and glowing sun barely seen through the smoke. Catastrophic fire danger, NSW, Australia

Donating to Evacuees

Supporting Wildlife

  • WIRES actively rescues thousands of animals in Australia and needs all the help it can get.
  • The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital treats koalas suffering from terrible burns and is installing automatic drinking stations in burnt
    areas to help animals searching for water. They are also establishing a koala breeding program with the hope that the species will
    survive the disaster.
  • The RSPCA in New South Wales is rescuing and treating pets and wild animals who are affected by the fires.

Helping Firefighters

  • The NSW Rural Fire Service has set up a specific fund that helps the families of firefighters who have been killed on duty.
  • The Country Fire Service in South Australia supports volunteer firefighters and can use all the help it can get.
  • The Country Fire Authority is not only actively fighting the fires, they are also helping to manage locals who are helping to provide
    accommodation to displaced people.

Whether you choose to give a financial donation, a donation of goods, or to donate your time, we can all help the people and animals affected by the bushfires in Australia.


Charity Is Not Just for Christmas Time

Open Your Heart All Year Long

Every year, the festive season stirs a range of emotions in us and because of this, charities give their biggest marketing push to drum up donations in the weeks leading up to Christmas time. In recent years, corporate charity appeals have become a Christmas tradition. After all, isn’t Christmas a time for giving?

Actually, Every Day Is for Giving

Just because the festive season is a strategic time to ask people to dig deeper and give more, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only time of the year that we should be doing what we can for others who are less fortunate. For most, the end of the year is the time to take a little break from the pressures of everyday life and focus on the unique period that is the festive season. Consequently, many experience increased feelings of empathy, which can lead to thinking about charities and causes that we care about. Driven by emotion and charity marketing campaigns, individuals and corporations are more likely to give during this time.

Sadly, these charities and causes are not only in need in December. People are homeless and hungry; animals are abused and abandoned every single day of the year, and those are not the only charities in need of all the help they can get all the time.

Foundation Guide - donate all year round

How to Help All Year Long

Instead of only volunteering or donating to charity during Christmas time, we should use this period as a time to reflect on what we’ve done over the past year and how we can better apply our efforts in the coming year. Here are some ideas for keeping the charitable spirit flowing all year long.

  1. Get active on JustGiving

    JustGiving is an excellent platform for people who want to become actively involved in charity campaigns based on what’s close to their hearts and what they enjoy doing. You simply sign up, select a cause you want to support, and then decide how you would like to help them raise funds. Options include taking part in an event like a charity bike ride or walk, celebrating an occasion, or doing something in memory of somebody close to you. There is even a personal challenge option through which you can do something unique to raise funds like shaving your head or giving up beer.

  2. Donate blood

    By donating blood on a regular basis, you can directly help save lives. It also has a surprising range of health benefits like improving liver function and helping to reduce the risk of heart failure and cancer.

  3. Volunteer at an animal shelter

    Animal shelters are often severely short-staffed and short on funds. Everyone really can do something to help the animals who live there, even you aren’t able to adopt or foster one. You could take the dogs for walks or spend some quality cuddle time with the cats. Some shelters have charity shops where you can help out for a few hours a week. You could also assist with fundraising events or adoption drives by sharing their posts on social media. Foundation Guide - volunteer all year round

  4. Run a race for charity

    Keen to get fit and do something for a good cause at the same time? There are so many charity running programs around these days, you’ll be hard-pressed to choose! There are programs that offer training and other support like workout plans and nutritional advice as well as the option to join group runs. It gives you the amazing opportunity to connect with a network of like-minded people who all support the same cause.

  5. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen

    There is always a need for an extra pair of helping hands at homeless shelters and soup kitchens. This is also a great way to meet new people who are also interested in doing their part to make the world a better place.

  6. Set up a debit order donation or shop from socially responsible companies

    Not everyone has the time or the social ability to become actively involved with a charity in a personal capacity. The good news is that they can still help in

    Foundation Guide - make a difference

  7. some way. You could consider setting up a monthly debit order to make a regular donation or you could support companies that take an active approach to charity. For example, consider Everlane, a company that donates $5 to charity for every purchase of their Human Collection line. Or take STATE, which for every bag bought fills another bag with school supplies and donates it to a student in need.
  8. Ask for donations instead of gifts

    If you have a special occasion coming up like a birthday, engagement, or a wedding, why not ask for donations to a special cause close to your heart instead of gifts for yourself? Just like setting up a wedding registry, you could ask for specific items or cash donations for your charity.

World AIDS Day Observances Around the Globe

Raising Awareness of an Epidemic of Epic Proportions

Every year on the 1st of December, government organizations, health officials, NGOs, and people all over the world observe World Aids Day by raising awareness of AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). AIDS is a pandemic disease caused by an infection called HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). According to data supplied by UNAIDS, around 770,000 people around the world died of AIDS-related illnesses during 2018. It is estimated that 37.9 million people across the globe are infected with HIV.

World AIDS Day 2013: Getting to Zero

Brief History

Originally founded by the UN in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first-ever global health day. In 1995, the president of the United States declared that World AIDS Day would be officially recognized, after which several other countries across the world began observing it. Over the years, the day has become one of the most recognized global health days, and several major events have been arranged.

In 2018, the theme was Know Your Status, and the celebrations had two main goals: to urge people to know their infection status by getting tested and to compel governments to advocate a Health for All agenda for HIV as well as other health services. This year, it will be the 30th World AIDS Day and it will be observed across the world with the theme Communities Make the Difference.

A Week of Observance

During the week of World AIDS Day, various activities take place to increase awareness of AIDS and to share the message of the year’s theme. These include:

  • Local communities and organizations getting together to arrange activities that may take place at hospitals, clinics, schools, AIDS advocacy groups, or social service agencies.
  • Single events or a series of events are arranged and may include health fairs, community events, rallies, parades, faith services, and block parties. Events are generally determined by speakers or exhibitors based on what would create more awareness.
  • Red ribbons are distributed and worn to signify hope. Social media outlets may also distribute electronic ribbons.
  • Activities such as seminars on AIDS prevention and DVD screenings are arranged at schools, businesses, health care organizations, and local agencies.
  • A candlelight vigil may be held at a local park where musicians, storytellers, dancers, and poets could spread the message of AIDS prevention.
  • Religious leaders speak about AIDS tolerance.
  • Services that provide meals, companionship, shelter, and transportation to people with AIDS are launched at events.


world aids day

World Aids Day Objectives

Every year, UN member states are supported in building up new and increasingly effective policies and programs to improve health systems to better deal with AIDS through various objectives such as:

  • Improving guidance of member states for increasing prevention and control of HIV/AIDS across the globe.
  • Providing technical assistance to member states to implement plans for preventing and treating AIDS. These include testing and counseling, antiretroviral therapy, and STI control.
  • Creating awareness of antiretroviral medication and other therapies that may help with the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
  • Involving peer groups in campaigning for the most effective results
  • Encouraging university and school students to contribute in competitions arranged to create awareness of AIDS
  • To decrease and control the number of people infected by HIV/AIDS and to encourage the use of condoms

World AIDS Day in Rwanda

This year, the World Health Organization will join forces with the Rwandan government in Kigali to celebrate the day. The focus is to highlight the role that local communities are playing in eradicating the AIDS epidemic. Leaders across the globe recognized this essential role in the UN declaration on universal health coverage and the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-Being for All, which was approved by the UN Member States in September this year. The campaign on World AIDS Day in Rwanda will lead to Africa’s 20th International Conference on AIDS and STIs (ICASA 2019), which will take place in Kigali from December 2-7.

Observances in the United States

The AIDS Service Foundation of Greater Kansas City has been actively working to eradicate the spread, suffering, and stigma of HIV/AIDS in their community. During the week of World AIDS Day, the foundation rallies with the goal of an AIDS-free world. This year, the foundation is presenting two events: the World AIDS Day Community Luncheon and the World AIDS Day Patrons Reception. The events will feature keynote speakers and pay special attention to colored communities.

Other events around the United States held include:

  • The 2019 Triple Threat Conference in Minnesota
  • Applying 35 Years of HIV Work to the Substance Use Epidemic in Massachusetts
  • The 2019 Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Clinical Care Conference
  • The Ninth International Workshop on HIV Persistence, Reservoirs and Eradication Strategies Conference in Florida

Martin Richard Foundation Donates $1 Million to Project 351

A Partnership Inspired by Peace

Martin Richard Foundation logo

The Martin Richard Foundation has made a commitment to donate $1 million to Project 351, a San Francisco-based non-profit organization that promotes youth leadership throughout Massachusetts. The generous grant is a reflection of the Martin Richard Foundation’s focus on youth development through community projects that promote civic engagement. The announcement was made a few days before the foundation’s final service event and it has been the single biggest donation made by the foundation thus far.

A Special Friendship Is Born

The two organizations may have originated in different ways, but for both, giving back is at the heart of what they do and that is not all they have in common. Five years ago, Project 351 named the youngest victim of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing as one of its service heroes. The Martin Richard Foundation was founded by the Richard family in honor of that same boy, who happened to be their son. Because of the mutual belief in a message of peace and the shared objective of arranging projects that promote inclusivity and community engagement, a beautiful friendship was born and the two organizations joined forces.


Dedicated to Promoting Education and Sports in the Community

Launched in 2014, the Martin Richard Foundation is a charitable organization that helps young people to grow, learn, and lead through various community-driven p

rojects. The foundation is particularly focused on advancing peace, kindness, inclusion and sportsmanship. Since its inception, the Martin Richard Foundation has raised funds through Team MR8, their charity team that consists of volunteer runners who run the annual Boston Marathon. The money raised by the team is used to invest in projects like community clean-ups, various sports programs for local youths, a leisure park project, and financial assistance for a club that organizes athletics programs for children with disabilities. The foundation has three main programs:

  • The Martin Richard Service Learning Program
  • The Martin Richard Bridge Builder Program
  • The Martin Richard Challenger Sports Program

Memorial Boston Marathon Bombing

In addition to the alliance with Project 351, the Martin Richard Foundation has also teamed up with various community partners such as YES, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, the Dorchester Educational Enrichment Program, College Bound Dorchester, and the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute.

Leading with Values: Project 351

Project 351 is a nonprofit started in 2011 when a former governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, decided to celebrate his second inauguration by focusing on making a positive change in the lives of young people in his community. The concept of the organization was developed by its founder, Carolyn Casey, and reflected the governor’s belief in the unlimited potential of young people in a supportive community. Eighth graders in all cities and towns of Massachusetts were invited to become ambassadors of Project 351 and that is how an independent youth leadership organization began. With kindness, compassion, gratitude, and humility at heart, Project 351 aims to strengthen society through the development of a new generation of service leaders. The organization believes that every young person can be a brave and bold leader who dreams of a better world.

Kindness Has a Ripple Effect

One of the special initiatives undertaken by The Martin Richard Foundation alongside Project 351 was a peace and unity walk organized in Martin’s name. According to Project 351 founder Caroline Casey, the members of the foundation have become part of the family and since then, a legacy of peace has inspired scores of young ambassadors to take note of the tremendous difference the actions of a single person can make, simply by being kind. Casey believes that young ambassadors are motivated by making small differences in their local neighborhoods and that when they join together with a bigger organization, they will see how their input can make a positive difference on a much larger scale.

The Power of a Collective Purpose

The foundation believes so deeply in what can be achieved through unity that it has decided to provide Project 351 with considerable financial backing. Martin’s aunt, Erin O’Brien, who is also a board member of the foundation, said that the vote to make the donation was accepted unanimously by all board members. According to O’Brien, working with Project 351 is a way in which the foundation’s message to branch out to a variety of diverse populations in communities outside of Boston can be carried forward. The organization hopes to empower the students in these communities through various initiatives funded by the generous grant.