Leading Madison Avenue to Clean Water
Unsafe drinking water is the largest single cause of human sickness and health related death in the world. This despite the fact that what is required to bring safe water to communities that need it has been known for some time. According to Blue Planet Run Foundation, we simply lack a concentrated effort to solve the problem, especially in rural and semi-rural areas often overlooked by large water projects.
Jin Zidell is a San Francisco-based philanthropist and industrialist who founded both the Foundation and the Blue Planet Run -- an "event with a scope as enormous as the problem" to draw attention and investment to the issue. It's an around-the-world relay by 20 "ordinary" runners (you have to be able to run a 6.7 minute mile -- if that's ordinary then I need to hang up my Sauconys) over 100 days.
Zidell has staffed up the Blue Planet Run Foundation with marketing professionals and brought Dow and Coca Cola to the table. His friends report that he was years ahead of the now-sexy sustainable growth issue in his philanthropy over the past decade. But the hype of this kind of event could throw him in the limelight and put wind at the back of the clean-water-as-a-solveable-problem issue. It's another example of the trend of innovative philanthropists pursuing public private partnerships for social change (Listen to Zidell and other leaders on the topic including Dan Vermeer, Director, Global Water Initiative, The Coca Cola Company, Michael Madnick, Senior Vice President, United Nations Foundation, Amir Dossal, Executive Director, United Nations Fund for International Partnerships and Beth Cohen, Acting Director, Global Philanthropists Circle, The Synergos Institute. )