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Global Development as a Vital Export: Changing Lives, Creating Opportunity

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11/1/11 is a special day in Washington state.

The state exports more goods and resources internationally than any other state in the nation. One in every three jobs in our state is, in some way, tied to foreign trade. The state exports nearly $40 billion worth of goods and services to every corner of the globe. But it's not just about commercial products and services; it's also about the development sector.

Global Washington, a membership based development organization, is the leading force behind the state's growing international development sector. The significance of Global Washington and its member organizations is being recognized by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn who is marking 11/1/11 as "Global Action Day."

Washington State is exporting long-term sustainable solutions to help developing nations and Global Action Day will bring a focus on the critical nature of that work, while allowing others to get involved and actually impact change at home and around the world

The state is not only home to the world's largest nonprofit, World Vision, and the world's largest foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, there are also over 300 non-governmental organizations working in global development addressing some of the world's most challenging problems and investing in people through education, health care, and expanded economic opportunity. The international development sector in the state is producing jobs at home, and sending hope abroad.

The global development sector in Washington State is changing lives in 144 countries, but it's also generating millions in state and local tax revenue and creating hundreds of jobs:
  • Washington State's $4 billion global health sector generates $143 Million in annual tax revenue for the state and local government.
  • 290 companies in Washington contribute to global sustainable development.
  • 266 Washington businesses develop products and offer services that address societal needs with marketplace solutions, contributing to society as well as to their bottom lines.
  • 119 Washington companies are improving the environment, increasing health and decreasing poverty worldwide through their operations.
  • 28 companies support 124 international philanthropic projects.
  • Meanwhile, companies like Microsoft, Boeing and Starbucks support a wide range of development projects across the globe. This is quite an impressive achievement for a small state.

We know the U.S. economy is suffering, and help is certainly needed here at home. But Global Washington members show that investing knowledge, resources, time and technology abroad not only betters the lives of others around the world, it also strengthens our community culturally and economically.

The international nonprofits and foundations that are headquartered here are creating hundreds of good jobs and attracting top talent from around the world. We at Microsoft are very proud to be part of this effort and commend the work that Global Washington is doing and on Global Action Day we invite the public to join the effort.

The theme of Global Action Day is "Changing Lives, Creating Opportunity," and the goal is to raise public awareness about the innovative and impactful work of Washington's global development sector and to encourage Washingtonians to increase their philanthropy and involvement in this important work.

Please join us on 11/1/11.