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Naomi Kodama, a 13-year-old girl from Chesterfield, MO, is one of my favorite examples of how one individual can make a big impact. For Naomi, giving back started when she was planning her seventh birthday party. The tsunami in the Indian Ocean struck on her birthday that year, and she asked her friends to bring donations for the victims of the tsunami instead of presents. Naomi wanted to make it a tradition, so in the years after that, she has asked her friends to donate to the Nothing But Nets campaign. Nothing But Nets recently named Naomi one of its Champions for her outstanding efforts to help the United Nations provide mosquito nets to protect families in Africa from malaria.  

This December, as we are rushing to wrap up our projects at work and looking forward to the time we’ll spend with family and friends, I am reminded by the selflessness of people like Naomi and am inspired by the spirit of giving that is all around us. This year, our friends at the Case Foundation are challenging us all to go #GoodSpotting and take notice of good deeds happening in our communities every day. Inspired by this wonderful idea, we at the United Nations Foundation want to share with you how our supporters and partners are helping the UN create a better world each day.

One of the biggest #GoodSpotting moments of 2011 was the vaccination of the one billionth child against measles. In an example of people working together to do good, the American Red Cross, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United Nation’s Children Fund, and the World Health Organization all pulled together under the Measles Initiative to ensure that the billionth child was given a Shot@life, free from the threat of one of the world’s deadliest diseases. What an amazing accomplishment! 

This year, our Girl Up supporters are helping the UN empower and uplift girls in Liberia, Malawi, Guatemala, and Ethiopia. Girl Up is a grassroots campaign that helps American girls channel their energy and compassion to raise awareness and funds to for their sisters in developing countries. In addition to donating money, American teens have also been donating their time to write letters to the girls the campaign helps. On International Women’s Day, March 8, 2011, I had the privilege of traveling with our UN partners to Liberia to hand-deliver the messages of hope to the girls. Still recovering from its civil war, Liberia is full of opportunity and is a perfect example of how empowering women leads to healthier communities and countries. Because of the good deeds of our Girl Up supporters, girls in Liberia will have a brighter future. 

These are just a few snapshots of the good work many of our supporters and partners are doing every day to help the UN create a safer, happier, and healthier world. We end the year grateful for the contributions our champions and supporters have made to building a better world. We are inspired by the opportunities 2012 will bring to do more #GoodSpotting. Join us and the Case Foundation this holiday season and catch your coworkers, neighbors, and friends in the act of doing something good.  However big or small, together, these acts of goodwill can change the world.

Happy #GoodSpotting!



Kathy Calvin is the CEO of the United Nations Foundation.

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