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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.