On Oct. 18, Care President and CEO Michelle Nunn spoke at Pace with two of our ICGL leaders, seniors Ryan Varma and Leah Favero.
Before Nunn became the CEO of Care in July 2015, she attended the University of Virginia with a major in history and a minor in religion. After she graduated from UVA, she attended the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.
After her education, she went on to co-found Hands on Atlanta. Nunn served as CEO from 2007 to 2013, and Hands on Atlanta merged with Points of Life on July 30, 2007. This collaboration proved to be extremely successful as the merger became the largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. After her career in volunteer work, she decided to run for Senate. In 2014, she won the Democratic nomination, but she eventually lost to the Republican nominee David Purdue. Now, she lives in Atlanta with her husband Ron Martin and her two children.
Care is a humanitarian organization that works in 100 countries around the world, and it has helped more than 90 million people through its 1300 projects. Care was created by “a small group of Americans who didn’t want to stand on the sidelines when they watched people who were suffering in hunger in post-WWII Europe,” said Nunn. Their longest-lasting legacy is the creation of the Care package 75 years ago.
The most important value for care is being locally based. “We are locally based with 95% of our staff being from the places that we are serving. We have deep relationships, and the change that we are trying to create is centered on supporting leaders in their own community to make their own change,” said Nunn. “What works is locally based and locally contextualized. The solutions have to be centered around the people from a community. You also have to think systemically. It is really a much more comprehensive approach than making sure one school has access to desks and pencils.”
Currently, Care provides resources and help for people that are struggling with poverty and education in their countries. Some of their goals by 2030 are to provide quality assistance to 10% of people affected by major crises, provide rights for water, food and nutrition for 75 million people, provide more access to economic opportunities for 50 million people and to have 50 million more people experiencing greater gender-based equality. One of Care’s main focuses is “girls’ education because we know that girls are disproportionately impacted by the inequities that exist in so many different communities,” said Nunn.
Already, Care has done lots of work to help alleviate poverty and help crises. “Last year, we reached over 4 million people,” said Nunn. “We work with governments to help ensure that schools have the proper sanitation and hygiene for girls and boys to have access to be able to go to the bathroom in school … Working with governments to ensure they have proper sanitation and bathrooms in schools has significantly increased girls education rates.” Despite all this progress, there have been many significant challenges. COVID-19 has been a huge challenge for many developed countries; however, it is one of the last priorities for those in crisis. “Care talks a lot about the c’s: covid, climate and conflict. When you think about Haiti and Afghanistan, they are experiencing all three of those things at the same time. Enormous rates of poverty increase in places where there is conflict,” said Nunn.