The Opportunity Project at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative
Every year, President Bill Clinton convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, these Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meetings have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. It’s a distinguished group, and it was an honor to attend and participate a little over a month ago. It was also a treat to represent eBay Foundation and The Opportunity Project.
Everyone who attends CGI is required to make a “Commitment to Action” to address a major social challenge in meaningful and measurable ways. To date, more than 2,100 commitments to action have been made, which have already improved the lives of nearly 400 million people in more than 180 countries. As eBay Foundation’s commitment for this year, we introduced CGI attendees to The Opportunity Project. In particular, we committed to make grants, provide business expertise, and utilize the skills of eBay employee volunteers to help organizations scale their innovative approaches to economic development.
While everyone is required to make a commitment in order to attend, only a small number are chosen to be featured throughout the course of the meeting. On the first day of CGI, I was invited to present The Opportunity Project as part of the Organizing for Change Keynote Lunch. Since eBay was founded sixteen years ago, we have been focused on connecting people with opportunities, creating innovative marketplaces and generating economic benefit for people. It was a great moment to reiterate our dedication to fostering economic opportunity to such an important and diverse audience – and it was truly an honor to be introduced by Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. You can watch the session for yourself here. The introduction of The Opportunity Project can be found at approx. minute 4:55.
In addition to presenting The Opportunity Project, CGI was a great time to connect with friends and colleagues. Among the more than 1,200 people in attendance were our partners from Ashoka, the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) and Samasource. In addition, some of the winners from our Powering Economic Opportunity: Create a World That Works competition were in New York for meetings around CGI and the United Nations General Assembly. It was great to have an opportunity to bring the group together to talk about our work and plans. After months of knowing them only by what they had written in the competition entries, it was wonderful to finally meet and get to know some of the innovators behind the solutions.
Of course, this is only a small sample of the individuals I became acquainted with during CGI. There were countless others I met in the halls, at sessions and over coffee or cocktails, many of whom we are following up with and exploring new ways to work together. The opportunities for collaboration are endless and CGI was most exciting for the opportunity it afforded us to share our work and learn about the work of others. We are so pleased to be a part of the CGI community of action and look forward to continuing to share the progress of eBay Foundation and The Opportunity Project at this important gathering.