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Akshaya Patra Advances To The Final Round Of The American Express Members Project

Press Release

The Akshaya Patra Foundation has moved on to the final round of the American Express Members Project. Only five projects remain out of the 1,190 projects submitted.

Voting for this final round ends October 13. American Express card holders can vote by going online to www.membersproject.com and clicking on “Feeding One Million Children Daily.” Card members are required to log in to cast their vote.

For the second year, the Members Project accepted projects that are innovative, achievable and can make a positive impact in the world by touching the lives of people in a significant way.  During the first round, a total of 213,522 people voted to nominate the projects of their choice.  Akshaya Patra came in third place for nominations received.  A distinguished panel of judges in conjunction with American Express selected the top 25 projects. Projects were evaluated on various factors including the number of nominations received, a review of achievability and advisory panel scoring. After the second round of voting, only five projects remain.  This final round of voting is limited to American Express card holders.

American Express is providing $2.5 million in funding to carry out the winning projects based on the total votes they receive in this final round. The winning project receives $1.5 million, second place $500,000, third place $300,000 and the fourth and the fifth place receive $100,000 each.

“The Members Project is an amazing opportunity for Akshaya Patra, not only because of the funding it will provide to feed the children, but also because of the exposure it brings to the mission of our organization,” said Madhu Sridhar, Akshaya Patra USA’s president and CEO. “I urge everyone with an American Express card to vote for Akshaya Patra and spread the word to friends, family, colleagues and businesses who offer American Express as their corporate credit card. If Akshaya Patra wins the $1.5 million, we will be able to feed over 53,000 children daily for the next school year.”

Akshaya Patra’s vision is that no child shall be deprived of education because of hunger. This program is a strategic intervention in education aimed at unlocking the vicious cycle of hunger and poverty. Akshaya Patra is the world’s largest non-profit school feeding program. Started modestly in 2000 by feeding 1,500 children from a temporary kitchen in Bangalore, the organization has scaled its operations to feed 960,814 children in 5,778 schools from 15 kitchens. The nutritious meal is hygienically prepared and catered for the local appetite. Theses meals have produced dramatic results on children’s health, school attendance and academic performance, especially for girls as demonstrated by AC Nielsen, an independent research firm.
A public-private partnership, Akshaya Patra combines good management, innovative technology and smart engineering to deliver school lunch for only $28 per child per year. Akshaya Patra’s fully automated kitchens can prepare meals for 185,000 children in less than five hours. Food stocks are sourced from local farmers, insulating the program from external price shocks and the organization employs local workers.
India is home to 57 million malnourished children. The 2007 Global Hunger Index places India at 94 out of 119 developing countries. 25 million primary school age children are not in school and there is a 40 percent dropout rate before reaching grade 5. Children miss school to do menial jobs because of economic necessities.
Malnutrition and lack of education also affects the global economy both in terms of productivity and income. Reduced productivity costs India’s economy $2.5 billion annually. With a labor and consumer base of one billion people, this can have serious implications on the global economy. Akshaya Patra aims to eradicate hunger and promote education one child at a time.

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