Empowering Hands of HOPE Celebrates 60 Years
Project HOPE celebrated 60 years of “Empowering Hands of HOPE” at its anniversary gala last night at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., where former First Lady Laura Bush delivered the keynote address.
Project HOPE’s Chairman of the Board and retired CEO of Merck & Co., Inc., recalled how the 11 voyages of the SS HOPE – the world’s first peacetime hospital ship – created a new culture of global volunteerism, but he also looked forward to HOPE’s future impact on the world.
“HOPE’s 60-year milestone is not an end-point,” said Clark. “It is as a marker for how much more we need to accomplish.”
Dr. Thomas Kenyon, CEO and CMO of Project HOPE, acknowledged the importance of partnerships in HOPE’s success, and announced HOPE’s longstanding corporate partner, Merck, as HOPE’s first Lifetime of HOPE Global Health Honoree.
“Since the first voyage of the SS HOPE, Merck has supported our global health programs around the world,” said Kenyon. “Merck has been our steadfast partner in every major disaster response over the past decades. With contributions of over $512 million throughout our long history, we can’t say enough about the lifesaving impact Merck has had on vulnerable communities across the globe.”
Mrs. Bush spoke about the importance of Project HOPE’s work and her history with the organization. In 2003, at her request, along with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Project HOPE’s former President and CEO, Dr. John Howe, visited health care facilities in Iraq to assess the needs there. As a result of this request and subsequent visit, construction of a modern, state-of-the-art, 94-bed pediatric hospital began in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“HOPE’s 60-year milestone is not an end-point. It is as a marker for how much more we need to accomplish.”
“The compassion that Mrs. Bush showed for the children of Iraq and the faith that Mrs. Bush placed in the hands of Project HOPE led to a successful public-private partnership working with the leadership of Iraq to bring desperately needed health care to the children there,” said Clark.
The program portion of the evening was rounded out by another first-time award: the Global Health Beneficiary Award which went to 9-year-old Nayeli Pagan, a resident of Puerto Rico. Project HOPE brought Nayeli, who has Type 1 diabetes, a year’s worth of insulin supplies following Hurricane Maria – a storm that cut power to the little girl’s house. Without power, her insulin could not be kept cold and would be rendered useless.Nayeli took the stage with her parents, Rosalyn and Omar.
“Thank you, Project HOPE,” said Nayeli. “And God bless.”