American Idol’s inaugural and star-studded fundraiser termed, “Idol Gives Back” debuted in April 2007 and raised over $76 million dollars. The special’s goal was to raise money for impoverished communities throughout Africa and the United States, including those who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. All ticket proceeds were donated to the fund.
Viewers were encouraged to make donations via the internet and toll-free telephone lines. Sponsors of the show, such as AT&T and Coca-Cola, donated money to the Charity Projects Entertainment Fund, which in turn distributed the monies to various charities throughout Africa and the United States. One of these charities was Malaria No More, an organization that provides mosquito nets and other essential resources to aid in the prevention of malaria.
Mosquito Nets for Malaria No More
The charitable organization, Malaria No More, was a recipient of a portion of the funds raised by “Idol Gives Back.” This particular charity’s goal is to promote awareness of malaria in Africa, in both the public and private sectors, and to help those communities obtain resources, such as mosquito nets, to prevent the spread of mosquito-related illnesses.
Malaria is transmitted through a bite from an infected mosquito. Africa is home to the most efficient species of mosquito that propagates the illness. Although malaria is preventable and treatable, it still continues to account for over 1 million deaths a year in Africa, many of those being children. Malaria is estimated to cost Africa more than $12 billion US annually. It could be controlled for a fraction of that amount.
Due to the show’s success, over $9 million was raised for Malaria No More and $8 million for other malaria-related causes. Aside from the monetary gain, Malaria No More was able to convey their important message to 60 million viewers and educate them on the topic of malaria and what they can do to help. With the precious donations, this organization provided mosquito nets and other critical resources to over a million mothers and children in Angola, Mali, Madagascar, Uganda and Zambia.
Idol Gives Back Again
Malaria No More was a recipient once again for American Idol’s second installment of “Idol Gives Back” held in late April of 2008. The special, more ambitious than ever, showed snippets of the trips to Africa taken by past Idol finalists Elliot Yamin, Melinda Doolittle and Idol’s 2008 winner, Jordin Sparks. The former Idols were shocked to the point of incredulity when they realized how something as simple as mosquito nets could significantly aid in the country’s ongoing battle against malaria.
Former Idol Continues the Cause
Recently, former Idol contestant Brooke White teamed up with the Malaria No More people to launch the “Save the World Summer” campaign. The campaign urges students to raise funds for charity during their summer vacation. Although they do not have to donate their funds to Malaria No More and may choose any charitable organization they deem worthy, Malaria No More provides an incentive – the person who raises the most money for mosquito nets will be rewarded with two tickets to next season’s American Idol finale.