congo | December 20, 2010

Giving to Lisa Shannon's Run for Congo Women

Instead of gifts, Lavin is once again giving a donation to an organization close to the heart of one of our speakers. This year, we’ve chosen Lisa Shannon’s Run for Congo Women. Lisa is RFCW’s engaging, upbeat, and tireless founder. Her personal transformation — from “bystander to activist,” in the words of John Prendergast — has not been without its sacrifices. In her early thirties, she gave up her fiancé and successful stock photo business. But she has persevered. Working full-time with essentially no salary, she has made serious gains on behalf of Congolese women. Best of all, her work has attracted the attention of some very influential people. She’s appeared on Oprah, ABC’s World News Tonight, and countless other media outlets. Nicholas Kristof, in particular, has written extensively about Lisa, including for a New York Times Magazine cover story about the rise of do-it-yourself foreign aid. With this donation, we join the growing choir in honoring the dedicated and optimistic work of Run For Conogo Women — and the unflagging spirit of its wonderful founder, Lisa Shannon.

From O Magazine’s 2010 Power List issue:

[Lisa] knew that it takes only $27 to sponsor a Congolese woman for an entire month—money used to pay for things like food, schooling, medical supplies, and job-skills training. So in 2005, Shannon conceived a unique fund-raiser. She set a goal of completing a solo run of the 30.16-mile Wildwood Trail in Portland, Oregon, hoping to raise enough money to sponsor 31 women for a year—one for each mile. She hoped she could give them the tools they needed to get back on their feet, and contribute to rebuilding their shattered communities. All told, she would raise $28,000—enough to fund 80 yearlong sponsorships. Because of her vision and power, Shannon no longer runs alone: That same year she founded Run for Congo Women. More than 4,000 people have participated in a run since the initiative began, raising nearly $800,000. Shannon went from bystander to activist, forging intimate friendships in the Democratic Republic of Congo and using her passion, her empathy, and her dedication to forever change the lives of scores of women, many of whom she will never meet. 

- John Prendergast, co-founder of The Enough Project

To learn more about Run for Congo Women, click here.

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religion | December 19, 2010