Doing Good Here and Abroad: Three Atlanta Charities In The Running For Prestigious Philanthropy Awards

The Atlanta metro area is well represented on the ballot of this year’s CLASSY Awards, with MedShare being a regional finalist in the “Disaster Relief and International Aid” category, Global Soap Project in the “Charity of the Year” and “Health and Well Being” categories, and Betty Londergan for Heifer International in the “Volunteer of the Year” category. All three organizations are nominated within the South Region voting area. The CLASSY Awards is the largest philanthropic awards ceremony in the country, celebrating the greatest charitable achievements by nonprofit organizations, socially conscious businesses, and individuals worldwide. In 2011, nearly 2,000 organizations and volunteers were nominated for a CLASSY Award, and their collective efforts impacted the lives of more than 200,000,000 people in 71 countries worldwide. The CLASSY Awards are based out of San Diego, California.

MedShare is being recognized for its medical surplus recovery efforts, specifically in rural areas of Haiti devastated greatly by the January 2010 earthquake, which left over 300,000 critically injured and lacking even the most basic medical supplies. The already fragile public healthcare system in Haiti was completely shattered in the aftermath of the quake. MedShare responded to the emergency by sending thirteen 40-foot containers of recovered medical supplies to Haiti, an estimated value of $3 million worth of product.

Betty Londergan is spending a year visiting some of the poorest and most remote parts of the planet and chronicling her experience on the blog, Heifer12x12.com. Betty generously donates her time, talents and energy to this adventure in an effort to ultimately benefit Heifer International project participants; otherwise a trip of this scale and magnitude couldn’t be accomplished. She has over 2,500 followers of her blog and her site has been visited over 53,000 times this year – providing an invaluable channel of communication for Heifer to profile its projects to help end poverty and hunger.

The Global Soap Project is being recognized as a nominee for “Charity of the Year” as well as a nominee in the “Health and Well Being” category.  Founded in 2009 by Derreck and Sarah Kayongo, GSP recycles used hotel soap into new bars that are distributed to disaster victims and children living in extreme poverty worldwide.  Sanitation and hygiene-related diseases currently claim the lives of more than 2.4 million children each year, and handwashing with soap reduces that death rate by up to 47%.  GSP currently partners with more than 900 hotels throughout North America, and to-date they have shipped more than 350,000 new bars of soap to 23 countries on four continents.

In addition, all three of the finalists are friends and their efforts have been aligned for several years. MedShare was responsible for making the first shipment of Global Soap Project to Africa and Derreck Kayongo, GSP’s founder, has been a keynote speaker at MedShare events. Betty wrote about Derreck and donated to GSP through her first blog, What Gives 365, in which she gave away $100/day for 365 days in 2010. Hopefully, they will all meet in San Diego as regional winners representing Atlanta’s focus on philanthropy.
Help us recognize these hometown charity’s efforts by casting your vote before July 26 at http://www.stayclassy.org/classy-awards/vote. The Regional Winners in each category will be determined by a combination of the public vote and the past winner judges’ scores. Regional winners will be announced on July 31, and the CLASSY Awards ceremony will take place September 22, 2012 in San Diego.

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