Press contact: Race4Change Media Relations are handled by UK-based Mighty Motor Media.
Steven Funk talks about his upcoming adventure in the East Africa Safari Rally and how he aims to use the race as a means to promote key microcredit institutions like Jamii Bora Trust and the Microcredit Summit in order to defeat poverty on this planet.
Race4Change, the Canadian microfinance organisation counting Nobel Peace Prize nominees and former US Presidents amongst its supporters, is sending an unprecedented million-dollar mission to the 2011 East African Safari Classic rally.
Three classic Porsche 911s will contest the Kenyan endurance rally from November 19-28, on behalf of Race4Change. Their purpose: to promote microfinance as a means to empower the poorest in society, and inspire donations through the website at Race4Change.org.
“The East African Safari is the world’s toughest rally,” said Dr Steven Funk, the US-born philanthropist behind Race4Change. Funk is underwriting the event cost: all donations go to the poor. “Running through the heart and soul of Africa, Safari is the perfect opportunity to communicate our twin themes of women’s empowerment, and microfinance as a proven path to a better life.”
Safari 2011 is Funk’s latest commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI): the network of global leaders led by former US President, Bill Clinton. “The team behind Race4Change were early CGI supporters,” says Funk, “initially making $30 million in microfinance available, to escape poverty’s oppression. That commitment changed many lives for the better. In association with Kiva, the Womens World Bank and Kenya’s own Jamii Bora, Race4Change.org lifts that success to the next level.”
Supplying vehicles and technical support, and sharing some of the cost are Safari rally experts, Tuthill Porsche. “For the Race4Change message to mobilise maximum support, and inspire donations from fans and followers, our rally cars must go the distance,” says Funk. “With Tuthill Porsche’s peerless record for preparation and reliability, I’m confident that Race4change.org will take the chequered flag.”
Race4Change’s leading driver on this landmark event is Björn Waldegard: the original World Rally Champion and a five-time Kenya winner - four times on the original Safari, and once on the Classic.
“Bjorn is a unique combination of speed, intelligence and competitive instinct,” smiles Funk. “He’s an all-time great and a hero of rally fans everywhere. Waldegard rallies to win, and so do we. Race4Change rallies to win hearts and minds: encouraging all to reach their full potential.
“Race4Change.org drives women’s empowerment, promoting freedom of choice and the liberation of enterprise. As long as our message reaches everyone who needs to hear it, and puts some wheels on African empowerment and enterprise, Race4Change.org will count the East African Safari Classic 2011 a success!”
World Class Drivers on Race4Change Safari
Race4Change.org -‐ the philanthropic organisation racing this year’s East African Safari Classic Rally to promote the economic empowerment of women in Africa -‐ has announced the first three drivers supporting its 2011 campaign.
Leading the Race4Change charge is Björn Waldegård, motorsport’s first-‐ever World Rally Champion and a five-‐time winner of this historic event: four times on Safari and once on Safari Classic. As with their first Classic Safari victory in 2007, Mathias Waldegård will co-‐drive for his father.
Backing Björn will be X-‐Games legend and NASCAR superhero, Travis Pastrana. “Competing in the East African Safari Rally is something I have always dreamed of doing,” said Travis. “With the help of Race4Change, I’ll finally be able to realise my ambition. Supporting such an important cause makes this event all the more special; I can’t wait to get to Africa in November with Race4Change.”
Third man on the list is Patrick Njiru, former WRC driver and local hero. Driving for Subaru on the 1994 Safari, Njiru crossed the line in fourth, one place ahead of Richard Burns in similar machinery and winning Group N in the process. Patrick has completed the car‐killing Safari an impressive seven times.
“Safari is the ultimate rally challenge,” said Dr Steven Funk, the Canadian philanthropist underwriting the Race4Change. “The bigger Race4Change goal: to promote the economic empowerment of women in Africa, using this epic event to reach the widest possible audience, is no walk in the park either. By rally end, our entire team will have pushed itself to the limit, but what else is life for?”
Renowned rally experts, Tuthill Porsche of Oxfordshire, England, are supplying the cars and on-‐event support. “Driving our cars the full distance, exposing them to as many engaged spectators as possible, with our story attracting support and donations on the Race4Change.org website is a key part of the campaign,” says Funk. “Our partnership with Tuthills couldn’t be more important.”
“With world class drivers and world class cars, a Race4Change victory at the Safari Classic is not outside the realms of possibility, but it all comes down to your definition of winning. Crossing the line faster than the rest is one definition: changing the lives of thousands, even hundreds of thousands is another.
“Whichever you prefer, Race4Change.org supports both. This is a charitable endeavour that motoring enthusiasts, microfinance advocates, African Diaspora and everyone in between can buy in to and support. Using rally cars to drive social change and attempt to end poverty is the opposite of effortless, but it’s sure going to be a whole lot of fun! We’ll see you in Africa!”
Race4Change takes $11 billion of Finance Expertise on Rally of Empowerment
Race4Change.org, the microfinance rally team taking a million-‐dollar awareness campaign to Kenya for this year’s East African Safari Classic Rally, announces the support of four of the world’s most respected microfinance organisations: Jamii Bora, Kiva, Women’s World Banking and the Microcredit Summit Campaign.
Led by Nobel Peace Prize nominee, ‘Mama’ Ingrid Munro, Jamii Bora is the largest microfinance institution in East Africa, and an inspirational success story. Jamii Bora was the principal partner on Race4Change’s inaugural 2009 Safari Rally event.
Since its foundation in 2005, Kiva.org has lent more than $223 million through almost 595,000 lenders: an exceptional achievement. Based in San Francisco, Kiva directs its operation through 133 field partners and 450 volunteers in 59 countries.
Women’s World Banking works globally for the financial empowerment of women and their families. Once the employer of Ann Dunham-‐Soetoro, microfinance advocate and mother of President Barack Obama, this US-‐based non-‐profit has lent over $7 Billion to date and is currently managing $3.5 billion in savings. WWB has 26 million clients, 80% of whom are women. CEO Mary Ellen Iskenderian may even drive part of the event!
The Microcredit Summit Campaign is a project of the hugely influential Results Fund, a US-‐based grassroots advocacy organisation committed to ending hunger and poverty. The Campaign consolidates a community now lending to 190 million people around the world. Loans to the poorest 128 million touch an estimated 641 million family members.
“Race4Change’s association with four of the world’s foremost microfinance organisations gives us an unprecedented platform,” says Dr. Steven Funk, the US-‐born philanthropist underwriting the Race4Change.org campaign. Funk himself is a product of microfinance: the accomplished businessman grew up on an Iowa farm that relied on microfinance to advance its economic confidence.
“With the spiritual support of microfinance organisations who have collectively managed over $11 billion to date, our efforts to promote the economic empowerment of women using this epic national sports event engage wider-‐reaching possibilities.
“While our professional and celebrity drivers get in Race4Change rally cars, physically taking our message into the heart and soul of Africa, our supporters will tell their supporters, most of whom we hope will share the Race4Change.org message online, bringing energy and excitement to the struggle to eradicate poverty. Race4Change is an incredible adventure, starting here and now!