A foundation started by the late developer Gerald Rauenhorst and his wife, Henrietta, has awarded an inaugural $1 million as part of a new, three-year initiative inspired by Pope Francis and his recent call to those of means to apply innovation and collaboration to foster greater social equity and community.

GHR Foundation, working with OpenIDEO.com, which enables sometimes-disparate partners to collaborate and design solutions to tough global challenges, chose five projects to fund in the first year of the “Bridge Builder Challenge.”

They are: Peace Direct, an ethical gold-mining approach as a peace pathway in the Democratic Republic of Congo; tree-planting drones for restoring mangroves and livelihoods in the coastal regions of Myanmar; peacebuilding programs for 300 young offenders through rehabilitation and vocational skills in several cities in Camerooon; empowering impoverished families on Chicago’s south side through LIFT Chicago, which works with families to enroll in early childhood education services and help them build social connections and improve financial security neighborhood prosperity. And NaTakallam, which bridges peace and prosperity by connecting displaced individuals (primarily Syrians) with Arabic learners around the world for online language practice that generates income for the Syrians while fostering intercultural understanding. By 2018, it hopes to provide 150 refugees with sustainable incomes through their work with 2,000 language learners.

The Minneapolis-based GHR Foundation, a supporter of Catholic education, international aid and combatting Alzheimer's Disease, has assets of $475 million. It made grants of $21.8 million in 2016.

More information: www.GHRfoundation.org

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