How Clinton Changed Philanthropy

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The Clinton Global Initiative, as its founder and namesake once said, is a bit like an eBay of philanthropy, bringing together buyers and sellers in the world of giving. Unlike most other foundations, CGI doesn't disperse grants. Instead, it defines an agenda at its meeting in New York City--this year's, which takes place Sept. 23 to 25, is about "designing for impact"--and invites world leaders, CEOs and celebrities to share the stage with innovators of the nonprofit world. Action is promised, and tangible commitments are made. It's a philanthropic model that only Bill Clinton's charisma and connections could make work. Put it this way: the only place where you'll see both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama this fall--other than a presidential debate--will be CGI's annual meeting, where both are scheduled to appear. They'll be joined at the summit by the new Presidents of Libya and Egypt, along with more than 50 other current or former heads of state. Since its founding in 2005, its members have made pledges worth a combined $69.2 billion, touching everything from climate change to children's health.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

Though you can't donate to CGI directly, here are three organizations the initiative works with:

PARTNERS IN HEALTH

Provides medical care in 12 developing nations, including Haiti. Visit www.pih.org

REFUGEES UNITED

Helps refugees and internally displaced people around the world find their families. Visit info.refunite.org

HULT GLOBAL CASE CHALLENGE

Helps the next generation rethink social issues. Visit www.hultglobalcasechallenge.com