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Adam Roberts: Saving the World Ten Dollars at a Time

[ photo: Adam Roberts ]

Saving the World Ten Dollars at a Time

In the summer of 2002, Adam Roberts '90 attended the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa where, for over a week, he was bombarded with the evidence of increasing poverty the world over. As he listened to global leaders discuss the plight of the world's poor, he came up with an idea: The $10 Club.

Roberts and his wife both work for nonprofits and give generously to several charitable organizations, but they're not Bill and Melinda Gates; they don't have unlimited financial resources. " As an individual I'm limited in the resources I can bring to the table for poverty eradication, but I concluded that if I could start by getting 100 people in my similar situation to give $10 a month, together we could make a direct difference of $1,000 to someone, to some group of people, somewhere in the world."

On December 18, 2002, Roberts sent a letter to friends, family and colleagues urging them to help him be a part of the solution, and the $10 Club was born.

Club members contribute $10 (tax-deductible) each month, and that money is pooled with all the other contributors' money, and 100% is used to fund a poverty alleviation project in a developing country. Roberts administers the club, but does not draw any remuneration. For the first two-and-a-half years, all costs associated with running the organization came out of his pocket. Now, foundation grants and additional member contributions help underwrite operational expenses. "The mission of the $10 Club is to lift people out of poverty wherever we can across the globe."

As of this writing, the club has approximately 300 members and has undertaken 39 projects (totalling more than $60,000) in 34 countries. To mention just a few: blankets, mattresses, pillows, and bedcovers at a new community center and home for the elderly in Tibet; health care for children and workers for one year at a children's center in Vietnam; insecticide-treated bed nets to vulnerable families in Ghana; a generator and cribs to an orphanage in Freetown, Sierra Leone; 10 brick housing units at a leper colony in India; prosthetic limbs for 20 amputees in Laos; sewing machines and garment making supplies for a women's cooperative in the Democratic Republic of Congo...

The goal is to reach 100,000 members in a decade and to fund a million- dollar project each month. To become a member or to find out more, visit the website:

Submitted by Wendy Connal-Nicolaou '90