Feb 19
February 19, 2015

Bringing People Together to Find Solutions


The Clinton Foundation works across the globe to expand opportunity and help millions of people live their best life story. The work of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), one of the Foundation’s initiatives, helps bring people together from the public sector, the private sector, and civil society to address today’s great global challenges. We do this because it’s increasingly clear that in our interdependent world, sustainable positive change depends on creative collaboration between partners from different sectors.

As part of their participation in CGI, members make “Commitments to Action” to address challenges of their choosing in ways that are new, specific, and measurable. Recently, a Wall Street Journal article questioned the work of some CGI members and their motivations.

Here are the facts: since CGI was created in 2005, CGI members have made nearly 3,200 commitments to improve more than 430 million lives in 180 countries. These commitments are helping address issues such as climate change, economic development, global health, access to education, and the empowerment of women and girls. Some examples include:

  • Several commitments by Procter & Gamble provide safe drinking water to millions in need of clean water, by scaling up production of clean water packets and distributing them with the help of NGOs around the world.  So far, Procter & Gamble has provided 7.5 billion liters of clean water at no cost to those who need it most in more than 70 countries worldwide.
  • The Inter-American Development Bank is working with corporate partners, including Microsoft, Caterpillar, and Walmart to implement an employment program across ten Latin American countries.  This work began a year ago and is projected to help 500,000 disadvantaged youth enter the workforce over the next five years. More than half of these will be women and girls.
  • The UTeach Institute has partnered with ExxonMobil, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and UT Austin to educate STEM teachers.  This commitment is projected to produce 10,000 STEM teachers from 34 universities by 2020, and it is expanding to ten additional universities with support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
  • Nike made a CGI commitment to create and fund the Coalition for Adolescent Girls (CAG), a group that brings together international organizations to invest in girls to promote their social and economic development. Since its creation, over 50 organizations have come together to bring their perspectives and resources to bear on a variety of issues. CAG members have launched programs that promote education and literacy, provide vocational training, and prevent teenage pregnancy.

Many of the corporations named in the Wall Street Journal article have partnered with non-profit organizations, other corporations, and public sector entities on Commitments to Action that are making a huge positive impact. In fact, a recent survey of all CGI commitments revealed that partnerships across sectors often increase the likelihood of a project achieving its objectives. CGI members have formed partnerships that have made tremendous impact – for example, improving educational opportunities for 36.5 million people; expanding access to capital for 3.1 million people; and increasing opportunities of various kinds for 2.8 million women and girls.

This is the story the Wall Street Journal missed – the positive impact that members of CGI are having on millions of people worldwide and the evolution of the conventional philanthropic model over the past decade to a dynamic ecosystem that now promotes creative collaboration across antiquated divides. We are grateful to our members, who take on complex problems and often provide life-changing solutions.

At the Clinton Foundation, we often say “No one has all the answers, but we can bring together people who can find them.” That is the approach we take through CGI – to connect partners across sectors so they can leverage their expertise and resources in the most effective way, for the largest positive impact. This is what enables us to make a difference in so many people’s lives.