(PRODUCT) Red – A New Twist on Partnerships

March 9, 2012 | By Guest Contributor | Post a Comment

(This guest post was written by Karen Norris, grants manager for Montgomery College in Rockville, Md. She has more than 20 years of experience supporting educational institutions in the state of Maryland and as a grants consultant. She is currently a board member of the National Grants Management Association.) (PRODUCT) Red is a private initiative unrelated to federal grants management; however, its origins and impact are impressive, and may serve as a model or generate some ideas when seeking partner support. In 2002, the Global Fund was established to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria in Africa. By 2005, the fund had raised $2 million. In 2006, rock star Bono of U2 and Bobby Shriver of the Kennedy family created the concept of (PRODUCT) Red to better engage the private sector through the sale of sought-after brands and products that are red in color. From 10-50% of the sale of selected products support the Global Fund. Retail partners include, but are not limited to: the Gap, Apple, Converse, Hallmark, Nike, Dell, Starbucks, and others. The purchase of a red iPod, for example, will send funding to the cause. By 2012, $180 million was raised providing services to 7.5 million people in need, including treatment for HIV AIDS and tuberculosis, and the distribution of 230 million mosquito nets to prevent malaria.

(PRODUCT) Red is not a campaign or charity, but an economic initiative engaging the private sector to deliver a sustainable flow of private funding to the Global Fund. Consumers get their favorite products, companies receive a boost to sales, and the Global Fund receives funding to support life-saving programs. (PRODUCT) Red was the first initiative to bring together some of the world’s leading companies as partners in a joint commitment to fight against the AIDS pandemic. “As consumers, we have tremendous power. What we collectively choose to buy, or not buy, can change the course of life and history on this planet,” noted on the (PRODUCT) Red website. The project encourages consumers to think about the amount of power they carry in every transaction they make. And as with grants, the partners and partnerships engaged to support the program can make all the difference.

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