Members Project from American Express and TakePart is an online philanthropic program that’s open to anyone, and its goal is to provide everyone with the tools, information and inspiration to find ways to give back on their own terms.
One way to give back is to vote for charities that you think deserve funding from American Express. This spring, people nationwide cast their votes. Five charities are slated to win in each round of voting, but there was a tie in the first round, so all six winning charities will each be receiving $200,000 from American Express. The winners work in the areas of arts & culture, community development, environment & wildlife, education and health & wellness—with funding that can make a difference around the world.
Meet the six winners
Arts & Culture: National Trust for Historic Preservation and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
It’s a tie! The National Trust for Historic Preservation protects the treasures of U.S. history—like the New Jersey Negro League baseball stadium and a Civil War battlefield called the Wilderness, where nearly 200,000 troops fought for two days in 1864, both of which are on the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list. The organization also promotes sustainability by advocating historic preservation—the renovation and re-use of existing buildings—over new development on Main Street. Meanwhile, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy reclaims abandoned railroad lines and converts them to trails for hiking, biking and walking (more than 1600 trails have been reclaimed, and there are 9000 miles of potential trails waiting for action).
Community Development: International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Talk about heroes. For 75 years, the IRC has been providing life-saving care and life-changing assistance to refugees during humanitarian crises. They also help communities prosper by offering vaccinations against diseases, training local educators and helping families identify benefits they might be eligible for. The grant they receive will help them respond quickly, deploy medical, shelter, sanitation, child trauma and other experts to the scene of a crisis and launch programs that save lives within days of their arrival.
This online charity connects teachers in need of classroom supplies (things like nursery rhyme books for a pre-school class in Colorado, trumpets for a middle-school music program in California, chess sets for a high school in NYC) with individuals who want to help. Donors receive follow-up emails and thank you notes from the classroom. The grant will help fund an estimated 500 classroom projects, which will impact almost 15,000 students across the U.S.
Environment & Wildlife: ASPCA
One of the largest humane societies in the world, the ASPCA has been preventing cruelty to animals for over 150 years. The grant will go to their three core efforts: community outreach, animal health services and anti-cruelty initiatives.
Health & Wellness: Operation Smile
This international medical humanitarian organization provides free, life-changing reconstructive surgery to children and young adults who suffer from cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. Their grant will allow Operation Smile to create over 830 new smiles—and grant 830+ wishes for kids who are dreaming of a brighter future.
Congratulations to these amazing charities!
Now begins the next round of voting. In three months, you’ll hear about five new charities who will receive funding from American Express through Members Project. Anyone and everyone can vote for their favorite charities at www.membersproject.com. The voting cycle is open for the next $1 million funding opportunity!