The month that was

This month featured what we believe is, hands-down, the most audacious philanthropic bet for the future. Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announced a pledge of $100 million to Breakthrough Initiative, a non-profit organisation that conducts research on alien life. Milner wants to determine whether we share this Universe with other lifeforms; perhaps reach out to them to say Hi! He’s not alone – Stephen Hawking is supporting his initiative, while Mark Zuckerberg and Sergey Brin have been on the Board of the Breakthrough Prize for scientists.

The hunting and killing of Cecil, a beloved lion housed at a protective settlement in Zimbabwe by an American hunter who had paid to shoot a lion led to loud cries of outrage across the world. Big-game and trophy hunting, where hunters keep the skull, skin, tusks and other animal parts remains highly popular, even though it attracts international furore. On Friday, the United Nations passed a resolution aimed at tackling wildlife trafficking.

In other NGO news, the Magsaysay Awards were announced this week. Two Indians featured on the list after a gap of four years. One of them was Anshu Gupta, founder of Goonj.. (view their profile on HelpYourNGO). Gupta’s moment of truth happened when, as a journalist interviewing a cremator, he heard about the story of a cremator’s daughter, who during cold Delhi nights would keep herself warm by hugging a corpse. This drove home to Anshu Gupta how little the poor have, and how difficult their lives are as a result. It provided the seed for his clothes recycling programmes, and the rest, as they say, is history. If you would like to help Goonj.. deliver better disaster relief services, sanitary napkins or support their operations, click here to donate.

Congratulations to Sanjiv Chaturvedi, the other Indian to win the Magsaysay award. Known to be incorruptible, he is being sought after by the Kejriwal government to work in Delhi State.

HelpYourNGO has been in the news too! Moyna Manku over at Live Mint has written about the importance of credibility of Indian NGOs in the eyes of corporates. HelpYourNGO has been featured as one of several organisations that are trying to increase transparency and accountability in the sector, and give deserving NGOs the attention they need. Check out what our CEO Pradeep Mahtani has to say.