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Members Project® Announces Final Round of Winners to Receive Total of $1 Million in Funding from American Express


NEW YORK - American Express and TakePart announced today the final round of Members Project winners, chosen by the public through online voting. These five organizations will collectively receive $1 million in funding from American Express to advance their missions of serving communities around the country.

“The charities that were selected are doing so much to improve the world around us, and we are pleased to congratulate and recognize their efforts,” said Pepper Evans Roukas, Vice President, Digital Brand & Social Media Development, American Express. “Over the past year, we have been overwhelmed by the dedication that our Members Project community has shown to doing good and getting involved. We are proud to have created a program that has done so much good for so many people and organizations.”

Since March 2010, Members Project has enabled its online community to give $4.2 million to 21 non-profit organizations, both domestically and internationally. The five charitable organizations to receive $200,000 each in funding from American Express for the fourth round of voting are:

* Arts & Culture: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Recognized as a vital American “Cultural Ambassador to the World,” Alvin Ailey uses the African-American cultural experience and the American modern dance tradition to inspire, enlighten and unite people of all backgrounds. With the help of funding from American Express, more than 300 scholarships will be awarded to talented young dancers, and AileyCamps in 10 cities and other programs will impact over 100,000 students nationally and Ailey’s performances will reach 400,000 people around the world.

* Community Development: Kiva – As the world’s first personal lending marketplace, Kiva enables socially conscious Internet users to connect with and make personal loans to entrepreneurs and students around the world. Kiva has raised $190 million in loans that have supported nearly 500,000 borrowers in 58 countries. The funds from American Express will allow Kiva to expand its reach in 2011 with a goal to raise an additional $87 million in loans to 241,000 entrepreneurs.

* Education: A Better Chance – Since 1963, A Better Chance has been opening the door to educational opportunities for thousands of young people of color in this nation. The funding from American Express will support The College Preparatory Schools Program that will place another class of approximately 450 new Scholars and support nearly 2,000 Scholars enrolled in some of the nation’s most prestigious independent schools during this academic year.

* Environment & Wildlife: Defenders of Wildlife – For more than 65 years, Defenders of Wildlife has led the fight to save threatened and endangered species with innovative approaches that help imperiled wildlife survive in an ever-changing world. The $200,000 from American Express will help Defenders continue to conserve native plants and animals and to develop innovative, science-based solutions to the many challenges facing wildlife and wild lands today.

* Health & Wellness: AIDS Healthcare Foundation – The funding awarded by American Express will support AIDS Healthcare Foundation in its mission to provide cutting-edge medicine and advocacy, regardless of a person’s ability to pay, and help the agency to continue delivering lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatment, care and prevention services to the neediest and most underserved populations in the U.S. and globally.

Members Project is an innovative online initiative that provides everyone with the opportunity to take small steps to make a big difference by linking up with volunteer opportunities to earn Membership Rewards® bonus points, from American Express sharing stories about good things being done in communities across the country, or contributing money or Membership Rewards points to worthy causes. To find out more and stay up-to-date on new ways Members Project is creating to get involved, visit Members Project on Facebook.

Through TakePart’s engagement platform, Members Project helps millions of people across the country to drive positive change on issues they care about. The tools offered by TakePart that support ongoing advocacy efforts around diverse issues include social networking applications, viral videos and mobile outreach. Members of the TakePart community can learn more about issues they care about, take action for change and get involved through volunteerism and building social network communities.

About Members Project
Members Project, an innovative online initiative presented by American Express and TakePart, believes that everyone can help change the world for the better, one step at a time. Whether it’s volunteering time, voting for a favorite charity to receive funding from American Express, donating or sharing stories with friends, Members Project enables people to log on and decide how they’d like to take action. Cardmember or not, anyone who is at least 18 is invited to register online at in order to find out the many ways in which they can do good. Through Members Project, people can find volunteer opportunities that are right for them and get rewarded for their time by earning Membership Rewards® bonus points. Everyone is invited to join the conversation and share their Members Project experiences using Facebook and Twitter and #AmexMP to tag their tweets.

About American Express
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at and connect with us on, and

About TakePart
TakePart is a content-driven social action network of people, non-profit organizations, and businesses that are working together to drive positive change on big issues like clean water, education reform, nuclear non-proliferation, and environmental protection. TakePart is driven by the idea that a good story well told can inspire people to take small steps that drive big changes. TakePart is another step in the evolution of its parent company, Participant Media, whose mission is to present entertainment that inspires and compels social change.


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