Travis Pastrana Joins 2009 Race4Change

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Travis Pastrana Joins Race 4 Change in Drive to End Poverty!

November 9, 2009, New York, New York—Nine-time X Games Gold Medalist and Rally legend, Travis Pastrana, is ready to rev up the movement to race to end poverty on this planet. Pastrana, who is already a Rally Racing Champ in America, has entered his endorsement of car #20, Race4Change (www.race4change.org), in the East African Safari Classic - one of the toughest rallies in the world.  He joins the efforts of Race4Change in raising awareness, on an international level, about microcredit and is encouraging people to donate money to two of the worlds leading poverty fighting organizations the Microcredit Summit Campaign (www.microcreditsummit.org) and the on-the-ground Kenyan microfinance legend, Jamii Bora, lead by microfinance eco-pioneer Ingrid Munro.

Microfinance is one of the most powerful tools being used to fight poverty. It is finding greater support as a viable, ethical, and socially responsible business model serving the very poor.  Since the birth of the movement in the 1970s many poor families have moved across the poverty line proving microfinance to be one of the greatest innovations for social good ever conceived!

Microfinance continues to surge as a massive movement to increase human dignity by providing a tangible means for more than 100 million of the world's poorest families to empower themselves economically. With access to financial services they couldn't get anywhere else, the poorest of the poor have proven themselves to be some of the most creditworthy entrepreneurs in life.

"We couldn't be more pumped up to have Pastrana join us in our efforts to promote Microcredit," said Steven Funk, an American-born Canadian, founder of Race4Change, Co-Founder of the Dignity Fund, and Chair of the Advisory Board to the Microcredit Summit Campaign.  “Our mission is to drive a movement amongst road, rally, sports enthusiasts, and socially responsible people and organizations so that masses of people can unite, individually, to make change happen.  We are racing towards a revolution that will unleash economic and creative innovation in the lives of millions powered by the engine of microfinance. It is a vital poverty fighting tool that improves healthcare, education, and the environment and moves the world from conflict and need to a more secure place of peace and prosperity.  The prosperity brought by just a $45 loan is profound.  Micro-entrepreneurs are empowered socially, economically and filled with dignity, one of the most powerful and rewarding human emotions.  Better still, they repay their loans with interest, which allows microfinance to re-lend and be the gift that keeps on giving.” As President Barak Obama has so aptly said, “change comes from the bottom up.”  Funk is a co-driver of car #20 in the race.

Pastrana is a living legend when it comes to performance motor sports and we've all seen his fearlessness on his MTV show, Nitro Circus. He lives life to the fullest, planning to set a new world record for a car jump on New Year’s Eve and says, “having been fortunate enough to travel to far off places, I’ve seen poverty firsthand and am glad to be able to lend a hand in the crusade to end it. What I do is sometimes considered dangerous, but let me tell you that there is nothing more dangerous to an individual, a country, or our world than poverty.”

“I can't think of a more perfect superstar for this race and this cause,” says Funk. "His involvement will drive awareness among a younger generation, showing our youth that they collectively have the opportunity to do something HUGE right now – they can lead our children to only know poverty by studying it in history books."

This rally event was first held from May to June, 1953 as a celebration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on terrain through Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika. It was later renamed the East African Safari Rally. The event was part of the World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar for many years.  The Kenyan Government and many supporters have now united together in an effort to restore the Rally's rightful WRC status.

With such tremendous philanthropic involvement from fresh supporters like Race4Change and Travis Pastrana, the Kenyan government and its people stand to benefit significantly from the positive attention that will accompany such a highly charged race and cause. The race sets the stage for the April 2010 Microcredit Summit being hosted in Nairobi.

Top supporters of Race4Change have the opportunity to win two fully paid round trip tickets to Kenya, with lodging and Microcredit Summit VIP tickets.   The Summit has been described as the "Davos" of the movement and will bring several thousand advocates, supporters, and dignitaries from more than 60 countries, including Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the Queen of Spain, Queen Rania of Jordon, and many more longtime microfinance advocates to Kenya in April of 2010. Maybe even an American President will bestow dignity to the impoverished with an appearance.

Join www.race4change.org today as a co-driver, a pit crew member and a supporter of microfinance as this world class Rally runs over American Thanksgiving and help race for the end of poverty.  Give a little of your support and thanks and rally together as a force to make a positive impact in the lives of hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest families.  Create a better world.

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USAID MicroLINKS: Race4Change

Race4Change - Racing for the End of Poverty

Date Posted: October 30, 2009
A team consisting of Dr. Steven Funk and Jean-Louis Juchalt will participate in the 2009 East African Safari Rally from November 22 - December 1, 2009 to bring attention to the Africa-Middle East Regional Microcredit Summit to be held April 7-10, 2010 in Nairobi, Kenya.  They also aim to bring support to Jamii Bora Trust and the Microcredit Summit Campaign. The Race4Change website allows participants to register as co-drivers, build pit crew teams and raise funds for the cause. The individual co-driver garnering the greatest number of points in their Race4Change involvement will be rewarded with two round trip airfares to Kenya in April of 2010 to coincide with the 2010 Microcredit Summit in Africa. The prize winner will also be granted hotel accommodations, two fully paid VIP registrations to the Summit, and an up close and personal tour of Jamii Bora. More prizes will be announced in coming days for leading co-drivers and a special award for the winning pit crew.  Visit the Race4Change website to learn more about this race for the end of poverty.  

Read the original article at the MicroLINKS website:
http://www.microlinks.org/ev.php?ID=6783_201&ID2=DO_TOPIC

Sarah McLachlan and Peter Buffet voice support

Sarah McLachlan and Peter Buffet join Steven C. Funk in their support of Race4Change!

Yunus: A Champion of Yes We Can

When President Barack Obama presented the Medal of Freedom to 16 distinguished American and international “agents of change” in August, one of the honorees linked Mr. Obama to both his past and to the future he is so committed to creating.

Among the 16 leaders who received America’s highest civilian honor was Professor Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which makes tiny loans for self-employment to some of the poorest people in that country. Professor Yunus is also one of the world’s most effective champions of the “yes, we can” spirit.

Decades ago, the economics professor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate described his search for new bank clients as a process of “looking for the most timid.” He wasn’t looking for the villagers who were the first to step forward to ask for a microloan of less than $10. He was looking for those who were last to come forward and who trusted their abilities the least. To those villagers, he and his staff would say, “Yes you can.”

Thirty-three years later, nearly 8 million members of Grameen Bank (a total of 40 million when you count their family members) are saying “yes, we can” to the whole world. Since its inception, Grameen Bank has lent more than $8 billion to the poor in Bangladesh.

So how does one start an enterprise that reaches nearly 40 million people in one’s own country and touches the lives of tens of millions more in replications around the world?

Dr. Yunus had his own “yes, we can” moment as a young economics professor, when he faced an agonizing famine that left him doubting his value as a teacher and as a human being.

He was so shaken by the sight of people dying of starvation that when he set foot in Jobra, the village next to his campus, all he wanted to do was to see if he could be of use to one person for one day — not 40 million people, just one.

It was in that village that he met a stool-maker who horrified him when she explained that she earned only 2 cents a day for her beautiful craftsmanship. With no money to buy the bamboo she needed, Sufia Khatun was forced to borrow from a lender who demanded that she sell her finished stools back to him at a price he set — a price so low that she made only 2 cents a day profit.

When Dr. Yunus asked whether she could earn more if she were freed from the lender, she told him, “Yes, I can.”

Professor Yunus had a student look for other villagers who were in the same dilemma. The student found 42 people who needed a total of $27 to pay off the lender, buy their raw materials and sell their wares to the highest bidder.

That’s right; all they needed was an average of 68 cents each. With her loan of less than $1, the stool-maker’s profits soared from two cents a day to $1.25 a day.

Now Professor Yunus has set his sights on titans of business and industry with his social business concept. The chairmen of Dannon Inc., Intel Corp. and BASF are beating a “yes, we can” path to his door to create new nonprofit businesses that have as their sole goal improving people’s lives. The corporations can recover their initial investments in the social businesses, but all profits are plowed back into these new companies.

They include a joint venture with Dannon producing nutritionally fortified yogurt for malnourished villagers; another with BASF producing chemically treated bed-nets to protect people from mosquitoes carrying malaria; and still another with Intel bringing information technology solutions to rural villages.

When the president shook the hand of the Bangladeshi micro-banker at the White House ceremony, Mr. Obama touched his own past and the microfinance work his mother did in Indonesia.

And when Professor Yunus opens the Microcredit Summit next April in Nairobi, Kenya, the microbanker from Bangladesh will launch the next phase of microfinance in the birthplace of Mr. Obama’s father and throughout the continent.

President Obama should accompany Muhammad Yunus to that Summit in Kenya to join in the microbanker’s most inspiring appeal — a daring call to put poverty in the museums where it belongs.

Yes, we can!

Sam Daley-Harris is founder RESULTS www.results.org a citizens' lobby on ending global poverty and of the Microcredit Summit Campaign www.microcreditsummit.org which seeks to reach 175 million of the world's poorest families with microloans by 2015.

Read the full original article online at The Epoch Times: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/23770/

Steven Funk Interviewed by Miss Iceland

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.

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