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In January of 2016, Foundation Beyond Belief (FBB) reached the culmination of multiple years of planning and preparation by much of our staff and some volunteers. We had finally achieved something that no one had done before - the first deployment of a national Humanist Disaster Recovery (HDR) Team.  Our South Carolina team worked for seven days in the city of Columbia, rebuilding homes after flooding caused by Hurricane Joaquin in late 2015. Under the guidance of our partner, St. Bernard Project, we trained, demolished the interior of a home, performed mold remediation, hung drywall, mudded, sanded, and primed homes in the area. The deployment, which took place from January 2 to January 9, 2016, was, in the words of Rebecca Vitsmun, the HDR Teams Development Coordinator, "An absolute success!"

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By FBB

Foundation Beyond Belief ran a total of four Humanist Disaster Recovery Drives in 2016. 

In quarter two, we launched a drive to raise funds in the wake of the Ecuadorian earthquake. Thanks to your generous support, we were able to provide a grant of $13,045 to Aquality (formerly Water Ecuador), representing 100% of the funds raised by FBB. Aquality raised additional funds for a total of $24,500 in support of earthquake relief and recovery.

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By FBB

Pure Earth is an international non-profit organization whose goal is to remediate environmental pollution problems where public health is at risk. Pure Health was a Q3 2015 Foundation Beyond Belief Natural World Grants beneficiary. Please read below for an excerpt of their progress report for 2015-16 and goals for the future.


"Pollution is the leading cause of premature death in low- and middle-income countries, even though proven solutions are feasible, cost-effective and scalable. Because of your support, Pure Earth has been saving lives, preserving livelihoods and improving health by devising and implementing practical solutions to pollution threats facing the developing world. In 2015-2016, Pure Earth implemented cleanup projects, as well as worked towards including pollution on the global environmental, health and economic development agendas. In 2015, eleven projects were completed impacting three million people.Pure Earth is currently running nineteen projects in Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Southeast Asia. Most of these are multi-year projects working closely with national and local governments. Some projects are just beginning, such as our assessment and cleanup of contaminated pesticides sites in Cameroon, while others are coming to an end, such as our electronic waste recycling project in Ghana.

In Mongolia, we trained over 1,000 artisanal gold miners in mercury-free mining methods, and we now have a waiting list of miners for the coming years. In Kabwe, Zambia we remediated 80 homes which were severely contaminated with lead, and now wide scale replication is on the horizon.

A key part of our projects is creating local capacity to enable longevity. For example, when we train gold miners in mercury-free methods, we also "train trainers" who can continue the work when Pure Earth leaves. Currently, Pure Earth is working in Madre de Dios, Peru where the government has a declared a mercury emergency due to the use of mercury in artisanal gold mining. As part of this project, we trained numerous local miners who are beginning to work as trainers themselves in other mining communities. 

Another component of Pure Earth's work is raising the level of awareness of pollution's tremendous health effects, particularly in poor communities. In addition to important articles being featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, and Time, we have developed a Global Commission on Health and Pollution comprised of high-level government officials, internationally renowned researchers and other experts in the field of pollution. This Commission has written a report documenting the health and economic impacts of pollution globally, as well as the solutions and is being published in The Lancet in spring
2017. This report is intended to elevate pollution as a top priority on the global agenda.

Goals for 2016-2018:
Pure Earth is in the first year of our "Campaign for 10 Million Lives" which will not only facilitate life-saving activities for 10 million people but will leverage governments to scale-up cost-effective projects.Goals in the coming years include:
• Funding 35 new cleanups in some of the world’s most contaminated communities;
• Launching our new Health Pollution Planning process with up to 10 countries;
• Increasing research in areas that will enhance our programs as well as guide policy
makers
• Expanding our policy and public education efforts so this global public health crisis
gets the attention it deserves.

Support from our friends:
Generous donations from foundations, individuals, and corporations are critical to our success. Pure Earth leverages these private investments four- to six-fold, enabling us to impact the health and well-being of millions of the world’s most vulnerable children and families. Thank you for caring and for your ongoing commitment."

 

By FBB

Each and every day, Foundation Beyond Belief supporters show the power humanists can have when they perform collective action and participate in collective giving. Our Grants, Disaster Recovery, and Service Corps programs make the world a better place thanks to your support. While your annual or monthly donations sustain our programs in the present, you may not have thought about how your generosity can impact the future of the organization.

Planned giving is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your support continues into the future. By including FBB in your will, revocable trust, or as a life insurance beneficiary, you leave a legacy through the programs you love. You still have the use of your assets as long as you need them, and you can change your mind at any time.

Instructions about making a planned gift to FBB can be found at the bottom of our Donate page.

P.S. Let us know you’ve included Foundation Beyond Belief in your will so we can include you in our fledgling FBB Legacy group!

P.P.S. Did you know FBB can now accept gifts of stock? Contact us today at development@foundationbeyondbelief.org for details!

By Noelle George, Executive Director

With NGOs and politicians in attendance at their Durbar festival, the leaders of Bolni took the opportunity to make requests for assistance. They want help acquiring electricity, a health clinic, a better road, and a junior high school. The speeches were broken up by musical interludes during which men and women, dressed to dance, made their way into the center of the gathered community. Many others from the audience, young and old, also joined in. One of the musical interludes was a song praising the importance of education. Even the songs were on-message.

At the end of the Durbar festival in Bolni the organizers gave token gifts of some yams and a chicken to the invited guests. The gift had to be taken home by moto, of course.

Photo credit Wendy Weber

By FBB

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