100 Friends began in India in 1989 when Marc Gold discovered a Tibetan woman with terrible ear infections. He took her to the doctor and a $1 antibiotic saved her life and a $30 hearing aid restored her hearing. He was amazed to learn that you could make such a big difference to a person’s life with so little money.
When Marc returned to the US, he made a decision to return to India in order to help other needy people in a similar manner. He contacted one hundred of his friends in order to share this experience with them and gather donations to put to use on his next trip and he succeeded in raising $2,200.
Since then, the project and its supporters have expanded dramatically. Marc has been able to help thousands of individuals, families and small organizations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Last year he raised $184,168. The ultimate goal of the project is to give away one million dollars (but why stop there?).
100 Friends aims to bring direct assistance by means of philanthropic travel to some of the world’s most needy people. Marc travels personally to Third World countries to carry out humanitarian missions annually and put the money to work in the most compassionate, appropriate, culturally compatible, constructive and practical manner possible, wherever he sees the most deserving need. When at home in the US, Marc works with thousands of young people to involve them in the project activities, thus planting seeds for future humanitarian work.
Who They Help
100 Friends provides practical and direct assistance to a diverse range of people in need in Third World Countries. Marc focuses on locating the most needy sector of humanity who are not receiving any aid from other sources. The primary group of people he tries to help are those who are among the most vulnerable in society: children, the sick and the elderly. As well as providing funds for medical, educational and subsistence expenses in impoverished areas, Marc also brings emergency relief to people in countries that have suffered from war and natural disasters. He also provides grants and technical assistance to small local organizations.
Philosophy and Action
100 Friends is based on the principle that one person can make a difference. It can take very little money, knowledge or other resources to accomplish miracles. When Marc speaks in front of young people and plants the seeds of philanthropic travel in their minds, He tries to impress upon them these principles to inspire them to make a difference in people’s lives. He also helps others who are planning to set up similar initiatives. Even the impoverished are encouraged and empowered to continue the cycle of giving by ‘paying it forward’ – performing their own altruistic acts within their own communities. Marc aims to deliver what he calls ‘the magic moment’ – the look on someone’s face when you tell them they will receive a lifesaving operation for their child or an educational opportunity that they could never afford themselves.