President Pasquerella Takes Anti-Poverty Pledge

The Presidents' Pledge Against Global Poverty was the subject of a news report in the April 30 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education and the May 1 edition of the Huffington Post.

Mount Holyoke President Lynn Pasquerella is among 28 leaders in higher education who have formed the Presidents’ Pledge Against Global Poverty, a new initiative to help end extreme poverty and focus attention on the positive impact of personal philanthropy.

The 28 charter members of the pledge have signed a public commitment to contribute 5 percent or more of their personal income each year to organizations that fight the causes or effects of extreme poverty. At least half of the president’s contributions fund international projects; up to half may be designated for anti-poverty efforts in the United States. The initiative enlists presidents, chancellors, past presidents, and presidents emeriti in an effort to reach the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and engage the next generation of global citizens in poverty solutions.

"As Mount Holyoke's president, I am committed to promoting our mission of using liberal learning for purposeful engagement in the world through personal action," said Pasquerella. "Addressing the paradox of plenty, where billions live in poverty, while others live in affluence, is one of the most significant moral challenges of our time. Collectively, those of us who have signed the presidents' anti-poverty pledge can make in difference in redressing human rights violations that are inextricably linked to poverty."

The Presidents’ Pledge Against Global Poverty is aligned with Bolder Giving, a 501(c)(3) organization. It received support from a private donor and a special grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to develop the project. The charitable contributions of participating presidents are made individually and directly to organizations of their choosing that work to alleviate poverty.

“Higher education is at the forefront of finding solutions that mitigate severe poverty. It also shares responsibility for preparing a new generation of globally engaged citizens,” said pledge participant George Rupp, president emeritus of Columbia and Rice Universities and CEO and president of the International Rescue Committee, a relief and development organization that implements humanitarian assistance programs in more than 40 countries. “Ending poverty is certainly not simple. But personal philanthropy does have impact. The Presidents’ Pledge aims to generate momentum and add a new voice to this crucial cause.”

Charter members of the Presidents’ Pledge Against Global Poverty represent a cross-section of leadership at public and private universities nationwide, including presidents from the institutional members of the American Council on Education, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, the Council of Independent Colleges, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, and other groups.

For more information, visit the website for the Presidents’ Pledge Against Global Poverty.