Millennium Foundation & MassiveGood: Interview with Dr. Bernard Salomé

Locations in this article:  Beijing, China

Bernard Salome, Managing Director of the Millennium Foundation, Interview on MassiveGoodLast week, Peter sat down with Dr. Bernard Salomé, Managing Director of the Millennium Foundation for Innovative Finance for Health, while at the World Travel & Tourism Council summit.  

Keep reading to learn about the Millennium Foundation’s latest initiative in which travelers can help make a difference through microdonations, one click at a time.

Peter Greenberg: It’s always an amazing opportunity to meet not just the movers and shakers in the travel industry, but the people who actually make a difference. Bernard Salomé, managing director of the non-profit Millennium Foundation, can give you an idea of how travelers can make a definite impact.

Bernard Salomé: MassiveGood is a completely worldwide initiative with the travel industry. It’s supported by the World Travel & Tourism Council, it’s supported by airlines, and it’s supported by international travel agents. It is an opportunity for travelers to simply click and donate $2/€2/₤2 that will save a life. We are going to roll it out market by market.

Help buttonPG: Let’s really connect the dots here. I want to make a reservation on an airplane, right? And in clicking, I’m doing what?

BS: You will have the opportunity to say “Yes” to MassiveGood, and therefore to donate $2. It’s a simple, one-click transaction.

PG: And that $2 goes where?

BS: That goes to UNITAID, which is an organization that belongs to the United Nations. That $2  is part of a pot of money to reduce the price of, for example, HIV medicines for children, or to buy bed nets as part of a Millennium campaign.

PG: And the good news about that is that your administrative costs aren’t that big.

Listen to the full interview with Bernard Salome here.

BS: They’re extremely low. We have less than 5 percent of administrative cost in the UNITAID program. It’s all done online or through credit cards, through a technology developed by Amadeus.

MassiveGood LogoPG: So it’s not a labor-intensive transaction. Now, let’s get really down and dirty on that $2. What will that buy?

BS: Well, five times $2 will buy you a bed net. And a bed net will enable a family to live for five years without mosquitos, and therefore get rid of malaria.

PG: One of the most underreported stories in the world is malaria.

BS: That’s correct, yes. And it is something entirely solvable. It has already been solved in Western countries.

Find more ways to help in our Voluntourism section.

PG: You know, it’s one thing to say we have a problem and we don’t know the cure. But once we know how to solve it and we don’t intentionally mandate that solution, I look at that as criminal negligence.

Millennium Foundation LogoBS: Absolutely. And malaria is one case where we can stomp it out in the next couple of years. Maybe not in its entirety, but 80 percent of it.

PG: What else does the money go to?

BS: We have decided to concentrate on health issues: malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, and maternal/child health. Other organizations take care of water, sanitation and education. But we want to be specialized in health, because without health there is no life.

Want to help Haiti? Check out Haiti Donation & Volunteer Resources

PG: I agree. Now, it’s one thing to donate on the Internet. Is there any other way you can do it?

Bernard Salome, Managing Director of the Millennium FoundationBS: As time goes on, we will develop other ways to do it. We will develop the capacity to pay by check or by cash. But for the time being we’re going to go only on the credit-card basis.

PG: Now when I do that with a credit card, does the credit card company take a percentage?

BS: Yes, but it’s very small. We negotiated the price to the lowest we could negotiate it as part of the 5 percent administrative cost. And we hope to reduce it further as the times go on.

MassiveGood is currently is available in travel agencies in the United States that use a Global Distribution System (Amadeus, Sabre, Travelport) and travel assistance companies such as American Express and Carlson Wagonlit Travel. It’s also available on Travelocity’s Travel For Good Web site, on Accor Hotels’ online booking platforms. The program is rolling out in Europe and in U.S. corporations throughout 2010.

For more information, visit

By Peter Greenberg for Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio.

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