As the year draws to a close, I reflect, as many do, on the state of our world, and especially on the reality experienced by the poorest and most vulnerable among us.
I’m encouraged by progress that’s been made. Extreme poverty rates are on the decline. People are living longer, healthier lives. More developing countries are growing in ways that share some of the fruit of economic progress with those living “at the base of the pyramid.” Markets are increasingly engaged, alongside the public and philanthropic sectors, in addressing global poverty.
At the same time, literally billions of people who have been born into poverty are suffering. Too many struggle to meet even their most basic needs, and they do not have access to pathways out of poverty. If you’re one of those people, global statistics are of little consolation. We still have a lot of work to do.
When the sheer magnitude of the challenge feels overwhelming, I try to remember a simple truth – these women and men want nothing more than the opportunity to earn a living, to provide their families with a safe home, nutritious food, good education and healthcare. They want to create a better life.
What I’ve learned over the last decade at Global Partnerships is that it’s possible to create that kind of shared opportunity. When we keep our eyes and hearts open – when we focus on what actually serves people, when we work to ensure that the power of markets is used for good, when we thoughtfully and relentlessly invest our effort and resources in expanding opportunity, when we take risk for the right reasons – progress is possible. Our efforts create the very hope that we seek.
Rosa. Josefina and her son Juan. Lucila. Gloria. Theresa and Peter. These are but a few of the people who are now living better lives, because of their hard work and your commitment to expanding opportunity. In the last year alone, Global Partnerships, through its impact investing in social enterprises, positively impacted the lives of more than 1 million people in 14 countries on three continents. Together, we are making a difference.
In the latest edition of our IMPACT newsletter, you’ll read about Rosa Cruz Payehuanca. Hers is a remarkable story of resilience and courage. It is also a story about the power of opportunity. It’s the kind of story that reminds me of what’s possible. It is one of more than a million stories. Each one matters.
So as this year comes to a close, let us celebrate all that has been done. And let us recommit ourselves to the work ahead – to creating a world where everyone has the opportunity to create a brighter future for themselves and their families.