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OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

A CHANCE TO FUND WORLDWIDE RELIEF

By JORDAN GERBERG
September 17, 2005
Aspen , Colorado USA

The world is not financially ready for the next global disaster.

Through the instantaneous reach of the Internet, the outpouring of assistance sparked by hurricane Katrina and the previous tsunami disaster in Asia brought together a global relief effort unlike any before. However, will today's contributors be financially able or even emotionally willing to continue the long-term funding necessary for tomorrow's humanitarian needs and future disasters?

Unfortunately, even government aid and philanthropy have limits. Long term and ongoing fiscal responsibility requires a reliable funding mechanism easily understood and within the grasp of every person worldwide.a simple mechanism based on minimal individual investment and expandable on a global scale. This mechanism is a WORLDWIDE LOTTERY.

A worldwide lottery accessible to every adult on earth can create a vast, reoccurring revenue source to meet the financial requirements of the next hurricane or tsunami, funding for famine, disease, literacy, Aids, poverty or the UN Millennium Project. Jeffrey Sachs' recent report "Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals" brings abject poverty into focus as did the media exposing the hidden poverty crisis in America . The United States has a significant opportunity to join the rest of the world in funding the poverty programs outlined in his report, or those highlighted during the World Economic Forum in Davos , Switzerland , and this week in New Orleans .

In 2004, 177 billion dollars were spent worldwide on lottery gaming - a statistic that deserves global recognition. (International Gaming & Wagering Business, June 2005 ) . Industrialized nations should eagerly welcome this potential and exploit the collective benefits of such an immense enterprise.

Combining the pervasiveness of the Internet with the enormous demand for lottery gaming will produce gigantic jackpots and attract lottery players in unprecedented numbers. By allocating a percentage of each ticket sold, an infinite resource of funding becomes immediately available to an associated charitable foundation. Utilizing the same Internet portal, the world can easily observe the positive impact of its collective contributions, scrutinize the accreditation of relief agencies, and influence what is both worthwhile and effective.

Conservatively, more than 35 billion dollars can be generated if just 20% of the people who take part in the growing 177 billion dollar worldwide lottery industry purchase tickets for the world's largest jackpots. Monitored by non-political entrepreneurs and humanitarian policy leaders, an established percentage can be judiciously managed through a Worldwide Lottery Foundation and distributed to accredited charitable organizations.

Along with the many global leaders who recently convened in Davos, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, come to mind as potential co-chairs of this foundation. Business leaders such as Bill Gates, Yahoo, and Google could play a key role by applying innovative technologies. Bono's DATA organization (Debt, AIDS, Trade in Africa ) created to raise awareness of AIDS and extreme poverty, could precisely articulate the foundation's goals of equality, justice, transparency, and accountability.

Much more than an amusement, a worldwide lottery is a sensible, socially accepted, non-political global fund-raising mechanism. The power of the Internet only magnifies the potential. Governments should eagerly embrace this opportunity, as it offers the world a chance to contribute directly to global relief with a winning incentive to follow the outcome.

No civilized nation should deny a practical solution that can create an enormous, readily available monetary fund for global aid, especially a solution that does not tax citizens, draw on national budgets, or involve political agendas. A worldwide lottery is that solution.

Support for humanitarian concerns must not be dependent on wealthy nations, rich individuals, corporations, celebrities, or institutions. The next potential disaster or poverty related death is just a matter of time. Through a worldwide lottery, the odds are that the world can be well prepared emotionally and financially to alleviate both - now, and for years to come.

Jordan Gerberg is the founder of WorldwideLottery.com and, for the past decade, has been building a portal to fund humanitarian needs. Readers may reach Jordan Gerberg through: Jordan@WorldwideLottery.com

 
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