ONE Receives $3 Million from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

WASHINGTON – Leading political advisors Mark McKinnon and Mike McCurry joined with 11 relief and development agencies that make up ONE to announce a new national effort to mobilize Americans in support of helping fight global AIDS and poverty.

Underlining the bipartisan support for helping the poorest people in the world, the campaign released results of a national poll showing a large majority of Americans believes it is important for the United States to start a major new initiative to fight global AIDS and poverty.

ONE also announced a $3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help galvanize support for these issues among Americans.

The campaign – involving 11 initial partners – will mobilize American support for measures like AIDS care, debt cancellation and trade reform, and a compact for development to get children into school, vaccinated and fed, and get clean water into villages and cities.

“Fighting global AIDS and poverty is not a Republican issue and it’s not a Democratic issue: it belongs now to both parties. Both Presidential candidates talked about making a better world to make a safer world. As this polling demonstrates the importance of beating global AIDS and extreme poverty is a value Americans from all sides share. Indeed ONE  is generating support from both left and right, supporters of both Bush and Kerry, who believe that it is in the best American tradition of helping others help themselves, as well as in American long term interest, to beat AIDS and poverty. This is something we can all agree on,” said Mark McKinnon, Vice Chairman of Public Strategies and advisor to President Bush.

“President Clinton cancelled the debts of the poorest countries – with encouragement from Pat Robertson. President Bush started the largest AIDS effort in history with encouragement from John Kerry. Americans are united across the political spectrum in support for the fight against AIDS and poverty, and ONE is going to help a whole lot of Americans speak in one voice on this,” said Mike McCurry, chairman of Grassroots Enterprise, a senior adviser to the Kerry campaign and former White House spokesman.

ONE’s national survey found that 86 percent of Americans believe it is important for the United States to put forward “a new effort to work together with other countries to help the poorest people in the world overcome AIDS and extreme poverty.” Large majorities of voters for President Bush (88 percent) and Senator Kerry (87 percent) support such an effort, with the difference within the margin of error. Among born-again Christians, 55 percent say such an effort is very important, with another 35 percent saying it is somewhat important.

“We’re very pleased to support The ONE Campaign,” said Joe Cerrell, director of Global Health Advocacy at the Gates Foundation. “We believe that this campaign can help channel the remarkable energy and compassion of the American people, who clearly want our country to play a greater role in the global fight against poverty and disease.”

The founding partners of ONE are: Bread for the World, CARE, DATA, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam America, Plan USA, Save the Children, World Concern and World Vision. These groups are already supported by 3 million Americans.

“The ONE Campaign means to give every American a voice to fight global AIDS and poverty, because together we can change the world. And if that sounds idealistic, we have experience from extremely practical political professionals, commitments from people like Bono and Brad Pitt who are very good at marketing to the American public, and the support of the Gates Foundation. We also have the will of the American people inspiring us,” said Peter Bell, CEO of CARE.

“Children are our world’s most important resource,” said Charles MacCormack, President and CEO of Save the Children. “Everyone wants to save the children and help poor families have a better future, and the ONE campaign will show Americans how they can help.”

ONE is a new effort by Americans to rally Americans – ONE by ONE – to fight the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty. More than 100,000 people have signed the ONE declaration online or at concerts, churches, synagogues and baseball games across the country. ONE already enlisted the help of diverse spokespeople including actor Brad Pitt, Houston Rockets star Dikembe Mutombo, and musicians including Michael W. Smith, Third Day, Michael Stipe of REM, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, and Bono of U2.

NATIONAL SURVEY: The survey was conducted November 3-4 by Lake Snell Perry and Associates, with a sample of 1,140 Americans aged 18 and older. Complete results and methodology information can be found at theONEcampaign.org.