You do not need a PhD in Political Science to realize that had Hillary Clinton forgone a presidential run and, instead, chosen to focus her remaining days on her family and new granddaughter, that the foundation which bears her, her husband and her daughter's name would not be the subject of controversy that it is currently enduring. We have heard so much about "foreign money" pouring into the "Clinton Family Foundation" possibly by some who sought favorable treatment from Hillary Clinton while she served as Secretary of State. Yet, most Americans really have no idea of what the Clinton Foundation really is and what it really does.
In the interest of transparency, as that is now the catchword of our times, I will admit that I am both an unabashed Hillary supporter and I have been a donor to and supporter of the Clinton Foundation and its programs since 2003. The Clinton detractors will point to my admission as a disqualifier of my views as biased. I submit that I am biased - but my biases are based on facts, not on the unvarnished disdain influenced by political interests that colors much of the allegations made by those who would see the Foundation - along with Hillary's political future - put to an end.
First, the Clinton Foundation is NOT a "family foundation" as the term is meant to imply. It is a large not-for-profit philanthropic entity that solicits contributions, establishes and runs programs and serves as a vast convening vehicle to mobilize other non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government and private corporate assets to efficiently solve heretofore unsolvable, major world problems.
Second, the Clintons - Bill, Hillary and Chelsea - work FOR the Foundation and on its behalf. They earn NO INCOME or get any other financial benefit from their association with the Foundation. In fact, they not only donate a sizable portion of their outside income to the Foundation, additionally they work countless hours raising money, supporting its programs, supervising its operations and ensuring that it meets its critical objectives.
Third, the Clinton Foundation IS and has been very transparent with the sources of its contributions. Though not required by law - donors to the Foundation are posted on its web site. That is precisely how its detractors have been able to use that information to lodge these attacks. Through innuendo, omission of facts, and through wild, unsubstantiated speculation, the impression that its critics seek to leave with the American public is that the Clinton's have been taking money through the guise of a "phony" Foundation created and designed to benefit them.
Fourth, 88% of the monies collected by the Clinton Foundation are spent on programs and direct activities that benefit people in need in this country and around the world. Between the Foundation and its subsidiary organization, the Clinton Global Initiative, more than 400 million people in 180 countries have benefitted from its activities since its inception in 2002 - again: that's 400 million people! It has been committed to meeting a number of major world challenges and has active programs addressing climate change, economic development in some of the world's poorest nations, health, including the deliver of HIV/Aids medications at low cost to victims in the world's impoverished countries, general health and wellness and improving opportunities for women and girls. The Foundation has had a major impact on improving the Haitian economy both before and after its terrible earthquake.
Among one of the greatest reasons why voters SHOULD elect Hillary Clinton president IS exactly her family's work with the Foundation that bears her name and the immense contribution it has made on improving the lives of millions of people at home and abroad. In all of the talk about WHERE the Foundation gets some of its money, what is being lost is the tremendous world impact of HOW that money is being spent and the collateral benefits our country receives from the good will it generates throughout the Third World.
Having just returned from visiting Clinton Foundation program sites in Africa, I can say, first hand, that those who seek to condemn the work of this organization, for what I believe, are primarily political reasons - to take a strength of Hillary Clinton's and fashion it into a weakness - are doing a greater disservice than they can even understand. They should travel to Africa, to Haiti, to Asia and they should look into the eyes of mothers who have walked for 12 miles or more to get their children vaccinated, protecting them from life threatening diseases. They should watch the expressions on the faces of young adults who have spent a lifetime without hearing as they get fitted with hearing devices for the first time. And they should speak with some of the more than 10,000 young students who have been able to afford, heretofore unaffordable, secondary school educations all because of the work of the Clinton Foundation and CGI.
Ask THEM if they care where the money has come from, I say to those who would condemn the work of this organization. And then ask yourself who exactly would you like to curtail assisting should that money, as you suggest, be withdrawn? Having gone to Africa, having seen but a sampling of the work that is being done, I, for one, will be increasing my financial support of the Foundation, and I would be surprised if virtually everyone else on that trip wouldn't be doing the same.
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