Thursday, October 15, 2009

Creative Giving- The Bill Gates of Switzerland

Stephen Schmidheiny is a social philanthropist and launched Avina Foundation fifteen years ago. Every year he puts 30 million dollars to help entrepreneurs in both Central and South Aerica in an effort to reduce the poor population. Also, what he cares about is corporate environmental responsibility. The approach The Avina Foundation utilizes is to encourage the poor to become entrepreneurs rather than to provide them welfare, including aiding latin America’s waste pickers in Brazil to raise their earning and training the poor to run business in rural areas.
This article makes me associate with the idea of Zipcar. Reducing emission of carbon dioxide is the vision of Robbin Chase, the founder of Zipcar, so she combined carsharing with technology to come up with very cool concept, Zipcar. Schmidheiny has the same vision as Chase. They all want to tackle the social problems- environmental problems and create very special approach. I like the way Schmidheiny used to move toward his vision, because it is very positive and meaningful. His creative approach- not hand poor people welfare but train them to obtain knowledge they don’t have- is beneficial to not only environmental protection but also the personal development of the poor. Teaching people how to enhance their income through being an entrepreneur is much more important than giving them grants. Only grants instead of instruction are passive and impossible to deal with the real problem. People still do not know how to make more money to improve their life. As a philanthropist, Schmidheiny definitely proposed the effective policies to assist poor people away from poverty and dedicate to the reduction of pollution.

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