photograph by Elizabeth Avedon   


On behalf of the Gere Foundation, I would like to welcome you to our Web site. Our hope is to provide you with access to information about the charter programs, working models and relief efforts of humanitarian organizations around the world supported by our foundation.

The sharing of information and ideas is essential to the progress of reform and relief. It is this type of dialogue that brought attention to the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic when it was most desperately needed. It is this type of advocacy that allows Tibetans to preserve their traditions and culture while living as refugees.

The Gere Foundation provides relief assistance in times of crisis around the world. While we work to alleviate immediate needs resulting from catastrophic events, we integrate programs that aid refugee and developing communities on the challenging road to long-term well being and stability.

Over the last few years, I have seen first hand the importance of implementing new pilot programs to stabilize a community's infrastructure. By introducing working models, we respond to immediate needs and improve access to healthcare and education while encouraging social reform through international standards of civil and human rights. With this type of approach - such as building a clinic, hospital, school, or bringing progressive ideas to our prisons - not only are long-term, sustainable results achieved, but less energy and money is required than a program which implements a "body by body", day-to-day solution. And by evaluating these programs and adopting only those that prove to be successful, we can move a developing, refugee community from a dire state of emergency towards the much needed stability of maintainable self-reliance and security.

Our success is not measured by a model based on Western culture. The goal of our programs is to establish a functioning framework of healthy spiritual and material values based on their own cultures and societies. Our hope is to see these successful programs expand and be used in other developing areas around the world.

I encourage you to follow your own interest, educate yourself and find ways in which you can help. In our site's Activate section, we have described a number of projects, programs, and resources with which the Gere Foundation is actively involved. Let whatever touches your heart motivate you to become involved with these worthy projects. I became involved this same way. Allowing my concern for the Tibetans and their culture to lead me, I have been able to help in ways I never would have expected. Follow your heart, get involved, and help out every way that you can. This is a realm of exciting possibilities.

- Richard Gere