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American Express Announces the Return of Members Project® With New Ways for Cardmembers to Develop Project Ideas and Spread the Word


American Express Will Fund Five Projects with $2.5 Million

NEW YORK.- American Express announced today the return of Members Project, the online initiative that enables Cardmembers to submit, discuss and vote on projects to make a positive impact in the world that American Express will fund with $2.5 million. Building on the success of last year’s Members Project, this year’s program will have more opportunities for project funding from American Express and new ways to create, track and spread the word about the projects. Starting today, the “Get Ready” site goes live at, which includes all details of Members Project, information on last year’s winning project and online tools for people to start formulating ideas in preparation for the official launch of Members Project on July 22. This year, five projects will receive funding from American Express. The top project will receive $1.5 million, the second place project will receive $500,000, the third place project will receive $300,000 and two honorable mention projects will receive $100,000 in funding.

“Our Cardmembers are passionate about making a difference in the world and last year’s inaugural launch of Members Project proved to be a terrific platform for them to put the power of American Express membership to work -- and make their voices heard,” said Jud Linville, president and chief executive officer of Consumer Services, American Express. “This year, we are bringing Members Project back with a panel of world-recognized authorities, a host of new social networking features and what we expect will be active Cardmember and Community participation, in deciding where American Express donates $2.5 million to the causes that Cardmembers support.”

“Get Ready” for Members Project
Starting today, visitors to can explore Members Project in preparation for its official launch; the site includes project thought-starter guides, sample project submission forms and “how-to’s” and highlights from last year’s Members Project and winning project. Also available are networking tools to spread the word about Members Project, including banners, badges, social networking sites, blogs and downloadable postcards.

Members Project Launch
From July 22 through August 19, Cardmembers will be able to submit their own projects to make a positive impact in the world and discuss, nominate and decide upon their favorite projects. Whether a Cardmember or not, everyone is invited to participate by commenting on and nominating their favorite projects online. Cardmembers can include photos, audio and video to help enhance their project submissions. Collaboration is greatly encouraged during the submission phase, and submissions can be revised throughout the first four weeks of the program based on the feedback received.

Experts on Making a Positive Impact
To help vet project submissions and narrow the field to 25 semi-finalists, American Express has established the Members Project Advisory Panel, a roster of thought leaders and experts in arts, community, education, the environment and health. Panelists will review and vet projects for those that are innovative and achievable with a broad, positive impact, and Cardmembers will ultimately vote on the winning project.

The Members Project 2008 Advisory Panel includes:

* Geoffrey Canada - President & Chief Executive Officer for Harlem Children’s Zone
* Mike Feinberg - Superintendent & Co-Founder of KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) Foundation
* Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE - Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace
* Dr. Sanjay Gupta - Neurosurgeon & CNN Chief Medical Correspondent
* Judith Jamison - Artistic Director, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
* Craig Kielburger - Founder & Chair, Free The Children
* Vanessa Kirsch - President & Founder of New Profit Inc.
* Dr. Michael L. Lomax - President & CEO, UNCF-United Negro College Fund
* Dr. Wangari Maathai - 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate & Founder - Greenbelt Movement
* Gail Sheehy - Author & Journalist
* Edward Skloot - Director, Center for Strategic Philanthropy & Civil Society, Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke University
* Jeanette Takamura, M.S.W., Ph.D. - Dean & Professor of Social Work, Columbia University

Members Project 2007 Updates
In 2007, after 8,000 project submissions and three rounds of voting, thousands of American Express Cardmembers from across the country chose “Children’s Safe Drinking Water” as the winning project, and American Express provided $2 million in funding to UNICEF to bring the project to life. With funding from American Express, UNICEF has been working to promote household water treatment and safe storage options in countries including Angola, Guinea, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Tanzania.

At the conclusion of the project, Members Project funding will help to significantly reduce waterborne diseases by promoting household water treatment, safe storage and a healthy environment, and will additionally provide safe water to more than 3.5 million people for at least two years.

About American Express and Good Citizenship
Giving back is a core value and being a “good citizen” is a hallmark of American Express. Often credited as the first company to launch a cause-related marketing campaign via a program benefiting the Statue of Liberty in 1983, American Express has continued to roll out successful initiatives around the world that enhance communities and bring support to important causes.

More and more people are seeking ways to give back, align with important social issues and do business with companies that are making a positive impact. American Express’ Members Project is a key way to bring to life the value of Membership for Cardmembers, empowering them to unite to make a positive impact in a meaningful way.


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