Hi everyone,

I felt informed citizens like yourselves, as senior political analysts and readers, would take interest in a program that simultaenously creates positive social, economic, and environmental impact around the world.

I’m the Communications Director for a program called Recycle to Eradicate Poverty. Our program recycles used cell phones and ink cartridges — pollutants extremely harmful to public health and the environment — to fund microfinance loans for poor women in Latin America.

It works this way: We collect phones and cartridges to resell or recycle them, and the proceeds go to the Grameen Foundation through its affiliate, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization called The Chiapas Project. The funds go to support women and their children in Mexico, Haiti, and Elsalvador, empowering them financially and socially.

So we 1) prevent pollutants from entering the environment, 2) enable woman-owned businesses in Latin America, and 3) empower women and their children. Next spring Recycle to Eradicate Poverty plans to launch the first annual 2008 Earth Day Challenge to protect the environment and fight poverty. The Challenge will start January 22 and end Earth Day, April 22. We seek to participate with universities, community colleges, high schools, and businesses to ensure this globally empowering Challenge makes as much scial, economic, and environmental impact as possible.

If this find your interest or you know of students and friends who would take interest, would you consider passing this forward to them at high schools and universities? This is the perfect opportunity for youth to take ownership of a great cause and use it to protect the environment and fight poverty.

I can be reached with any questions at ryan@phoneraiser.com. More information about Recycle can be found at www.recycletoeradicatepoverty.com.

Some facts you might or might not know:

  • Cell phones are retired in enormous amounts: 500 million each year, 10 million each month.
  • Each phone contains 8 toxic substances — arsenic and mercury included — and can pollute up to 135,000 liters of water.
  • Women and men around the world live on less than $2 per day.
  • Microfinance for-profits and non-profits enjoy loan repayment rates at or above 90% worldwide.

Recycle to Eradicate Poverty prides itself on direct affiliation with the Grameen Foundation and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus.