Renzo Rosso - Philanthropy - Only The Brave Foundation

Only The Brave Foundation

In 2008, Rosso launched the Only the Brave Foundation, a not-for-profit organization and foundation. Originally focused on redressing the balance of disadvantaged young people in North East Italy, the foundation's main purpose naturally shifted to focus on Africa, the most disadvantaged and youngest continent in the world, given its high demographic preponderance of young people. Though Rosso is not a Buddhist, he stated in 2008 that he had been inspired to start the foundation after having met His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2005, who suggested Rosso use his global business possibilities to create a foundation to help the needy.

In 2009, Rosso, together with Millennium Promise, The Earth Institute at Columbia University, and UNDP, launched the Only the Brave Millennium Village, in Dioro, Mali. Following the model of the Millennium Villages, which helps communities lift themselves out of extreme poverty, the first steps in Mali included distributing seeds and fertilizers to boost agriculture, providing bed nets to decrease malaria, and the constructing a new health clinics. Additionally, a new primary school, equipped and run with solar panels, was built with expanded classrooms, latrines for boys and girls and a new school kitchen. In the spring of 2010 Rosso visited the village to personally oversee the development. At a press conference in September, the CEO of Millennium Promise, John McArthur, said "Renzo and the Only the Brave Foundation bring an extraordinary spirit of creativity and entrepreneurship to this collaboration, all driven by passion to end extreme poverty."

Later that year, Rosso was named a Millennium Promise Millennium Development Goals Global Leader at the United Nations in conjunction with the Millennium Development Goals Summit, alongside Senegalese musician and UNICEF ambassador Youssou Ndour, Microsoft-founder Bill Gates, musician and activist Bob Geldoff, Queen Rania of Jordan, Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, and Philanthropist Ted Turner, among others. Established in 2005, Millennium Promise is the leading international non-profit organization solely committed to supporting the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals to halve extreme poverty by 2015.

Since 2011 the Only the Brave Foundation supports and develops projects like The Village (Mali); Water.org (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda); Doctors With Africa Cuamm (Ethiopia); Associazione Uomo Mondo Onlus (Burundi, Senegal); Ethiopian Education Foundation (Ethiopia); and Lo Spirito di Stella (Italy).

In February, 2012, Rosso was invited by the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations to host a press conference at The United Nations together with Jeffrey Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University and Special Advisor to The United Nations' Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, about the progress of Millennium Promise and the Only The Brave Foundation. The press conference was part of a series called "Un Coffee with" that also included Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. Following the conference, Italian newspaper La Stampa wrote "Take a visionary like Renzo Rosso and an insightful, realistic economist like Jeffrey Sachs, and it turns out extreme poverty really can disappear from Africa".

On July 6, 2012, Rosso announced that Only The Brave Foundation will begin supporting APOPO, a social enterprise that researches, develops and disseminates detection rat technology for humanitarian purposes, by investing 100,000 Euro in the training of 50 new rats for a de-mining mission in Mozambique and for Tuberculosis scanning in Tanzania and Mozambique. Following the investment, Rosso told Italian newspaper Il Giornale di Vicenza "When I heard about this project I thought it was impossible not to get involved. It is innovative and sustainable, and everything we want to support. One can't feel but admiration for a foundation like this."

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