Helmsley Charitable Trust Donates $2.8 Million to Protect Ethiopian Communities from Flooding, Poverty

An Ethiopian farmer works his land
An Ethiopian farmer works his land. World Vision has been working in Ethiopia since the early 1970s. PHOTO: Alexander Whittle / World Vision

Seattle, WA (December 22, 2014) — World Vision will announce today a donation of nearly $3 million by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to fund a three-year project to protect Ethiopian communities from annual flooding that is destroying their opportunities for economic success.

In the Libo Kemkem and Chilga districts of Ethiopia, annual widespread flooding between July and November affects some 40,000 people, exacerbating already-existing poverty, food insecurity, a lack of clean water, poor health, especially for mothers and children, and insufficient educational opportunities.

With funding from the donation, World Vision staff in Ethiopia will develop dike infrastructure that will help mitigate the effects of the annual flooding as well as start programs to build clean water sources and sanitation systems, help families in the affected districts improve their farming techniques, develop savings groups, learn better business practices, and learn to solve their own development challenges.

“Thanks to this incredibly generous donation from the Helmsley Charitable Trust, World Vision will be able to help more than 40,000 people improve their lives and begin to address their communities’ challenges themselves,” said Paul Carey, Executive Director, Global Philanthropy.

World Vision has been working in Ethiopia since 1971 and was a critical player in addressing the hunger that resulted from the massive famine there in the early 1980s.

This grant is part of the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s initiative to assist vulnerable children in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional nonprofits and other mission-aligned organizations in the U.S. and around the world in health, place-based initiatives, and education and human services. Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1 billion to a wide range of charitable organizations. For more information on the Trust and its programs, visit www.helmsleytrust.org.

About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/media-center/ or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.


  • Communities in northwestern Ethiopia are wracked with poverty as a result of annual flooding
  • Helmsley Charitable Trust donation of more than $2.8 million will fund three-year solution to flooding and resulting poverty
  • World Vision three-year program will build infrastructure to mitigate flooding and improve economic opportunities for communities there