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Five Ways Obama Could Best Spend His $1.4M in Nobel Cash

Obama in thought

Moments after the surprise announcement that Barack Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Web was atwitter with criticism and speculation about whether he's done anything to deserve it.

He helped diffused some of the quips by, himself, admitting that he may not be worthy. And he Tweeted one word: "Humbled." Here's another idea: Give away the $1.4 million in prize money to a do-gooder organization. Not a massive charity, but a small not-for-profit. Something related to creating peace and understanding in the Middle East and Asia, the work that earned him the Nobel. Below, the Fast Company staff offers five from-the-hip ideas of organizations that could use Obama's chunk of change to make a massive impact.

  1. American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), Washington, D.C.
    A nonpolitical, nonreligious not-for-profit, ANERA has been working solely in the Middle East for 40 years by providing a wide array of relief aid in impoverished communities across Lebanon, Jordan, the West Bank, and Gaza. One example: renovating preschools in Gaza using recycled materials from war-torn buildings.
  2. Barefoot College, Tilonia, India
    For more than 30 years, the Barefoot College has been training the poorest of the poor to innovate their way out of poverty in rural areas of Africa, Afghanistan, and India. In 2006, with just $100,000, it trained 10 Afghan women and bought 120 solar units to power five villages in Afghanistan. Read more about it here.
  3. Hidaya Foundation, Santa Clara, California
    The organization implements educational, environmental, social welfare, and health care programs in economically depressed areas of Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, several countries in West Africa, and North America, focusing on projects that promote self-employment.
  4. OneVoice Movement, Tel Aviv, Israel/Ramallah, West Bank, Palestine
    Via workshops, town-hall meetings, and college tours, OneVoice emphasizes tolerance and coexistance between Israelis and Palestinians—and trains young people to serve as leaders promoting nonviolence.
  5. Seeds of Peace, New York, New York
    Founded in 1993 as a leadership-training-camp program with 46 Israeli, Palestinian, and Egyptian teenagers, this not-for-profit has produced more than 4,000 young leaders working for peace in the areas of international affairs, politics, business, medicine, nonprofit, and media.

Got an even better idea for a not-for-profit that deserves Obama's Nobel money? Post them in the comments section below.

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  • Jeff Rudy

    Where Peace Lives is a match for President Obama's diplomatic mission abroad and domestic mission at home. We effectively teach young people how to handle conflicts and aggressive behavoir in a postive way while creating a bigger context for them to engage in a new conversation for peace in the world. We have programs in 16 countries and are growing.

    Jeff Rudy
    Where Peace Lives

  • Stephen Lenkus

    His priority should be to really EARN that prize over the next three years, and prove the Nobel Committee to be prophets: use the prize as a springboard!
    The Middle East is the real litmus test. Support organisations like OneVoice and Seeds of Peace, and make a real declaration of intent. He could walk away with another Nobel prize before the 2012 elections.....

  • Samantha Scott

    What about a child or family abuse prevention organization or organizations that help get some of the new hunger/homeless into jobs and houses?