Dr. Steven C. Funk, Midwest farm boy, accomplished athlete, student scholar, doctor of dentistry/oral surgery, distinguished international entrepreneur, adventurer, and philanthropist, recognized in Peter Newman's Canadian book, Titans, and Peter Thomas' book, Windows of Opportunity, is the Chief Executive Advocate of the Race4Change commitment. Steven is the Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Microcredit Summit, co-founder of the Dignity Fund, a founding director of Unitus, and a founding financier of Unitus Capital, a dedicated microfinance merchant bank. In 2009, Steven drove and finished the East Africa Safari Rally in support of microfinance. The efforts of the rally brought support to Jamii Bora (a major Kenyan microfinance organization) and to the 2010 Microcredit Summit held in Nairobi in April. The road rally resulted in an extraordinary media effort in Africa. The race organizers, several notable racers, and millions of people in East Africa were touched, impacted, and engaged by the effort.
In 2011, Steven, together with Richard Tuthill, world renowned rally car builder and team manager, Travis Clarke of Wasserman Media Group, Surinder Thatthi, organizer of the East African Safari Rally and the Morocco Rally, Mary Ellen Iskenderian, head of Women's World Banking, Ingrid Munro of Jamii Bora, and Sam Daley-Harris of the Microcredit Summit, are leading the assembly of a team of high profile individuals to participant in the Race4Change.
These participants will enjoy the splendor and feel the angst of Eastern Africa while driving in this 10-day, 4,500-kilometer rally through the back roads of Kenya and Tanzania in one of the most acclaimed road rally's in the world, the East Africa Safari Classic 2011. The objective is to champion one of today's most profoundly important global issues - ensuring the economic opportunity, empowerment, and dignity of girls and women. Race4Change is a call to action and a profiled rally of thanksgiving to transform world poverty.
Road racing is one of the most watched sports in the world and rally racing is one of the most famous sports in developing countries. Why? Rally racing in particular is a sport of the people that goes to the people. Spectators become dedicated fans, intently following the outcome of the race, and will engage and assist the drivers in every conceivable manner along the course of the rally. Local communities come out in mass to watch the race, provide mechanical and directional support, food, water, and even housing.
East Africans and international participants will team up in the Race4Change to serve as drivers and race organizers. In addition, the microfinance community - including microcredit sponsors, microfinance institutions, and MFI clients - will be actively engaged through the 10-day affair.
Race4Change will communicate with millions of people in Africa and throughout the world - in all socioeconomic spectrums - by profiling the empowerment of girls and women through microfinance. Race4Change aims to organize the highest profile list of celebrity entrants to enjoy one of the greatest experiences of a lifetime while strengthening one of the most profound market based solutions to poverty of our era, microfinance.
Race4Change will bring poverty alleviation activists to the countryside of poverty to have an amazing experience of camaraderie, beauty, and wakefulness. Race4Change will engage with communities by way of the rally and by leveraging the popularity of soccer. Race4Change will deliver truckloads of the new indestructible soccer ball to microfinance organizations and the communities they serve, with drivers and celebrities playing soccer and talking microfinance with the communities - speaking to the themes of partnership, leadership, team work, cooperation, and the enjoyment and fun in life.
Race 4Change will host media interviews and offer access to celebrity personalities. Cars, a support team (including driver support), food, and accommodations will be provided for Race4Change team members. Race4Change will initiate a global appeal for financial and in-kind support to microfinance to empower girls and women. Race4Change aims to harness the human potential of celebrities and the local individual, and aims to bring awareness to the harsh nature of poverty and the beauty of empowerment. Race4Change's overriding objective is to move conflict and need closer to peace and prosperity.
The 2011 Race4Change will be a 'Rally of Thanksgiving' with a starting line at the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative and the finish line in Mombasa, Kenya just after the Thanksgiving holiday in 2011.
The deliverables from Race4Change include the following:
Provide the cars, logistics, team management and driver support for celebrity participants;
Provide truck loads of indestructible soccer balls to microfinance organizations along the Rally route to engage with communities on issues of microfinance, teamwork, cooperation, and the development of human potential;
Utilize the star power of celebrities to bring worldwide media attention to the Race4Change and its objective to combat poverty through microfinance;
Attract and commit financial support for the promotion of microfinance, the expansion of its client base, the empowerment of girls and women, and the development of human potential;
Call for the financial and individual support of human respect, dignity, and personal development;
Stimulate the human spirit;
Provide participants with a 'check the bucket list' opportunity; and
8. Keep minds and eyes open to make whatever else possible Race4Change can make happen to move conflict and need closer to peace and prosperity.