Award from Buck Advisory Council
President of Makhzoumi Foundation is Active in Efforts to Aid Syrian Refugees
May 18, 2014, Novato, California The Buck Advisory Council (BAC) has awarded its 2014 Global Humanitarian Award to May Makhzoumi, President of the Makhzoumi Foundation. The Foundation, headquartered in Beirut, was the first organization in Lebanon to partner with the UN Refugee Agency to provide relief to those fleeing Syria.
The BAC is a prestigious group of men and women from the United States and around the world dedicated to helping advance the Buck Institute’s scientific and educational mission. The Global Humanitarian Award honors individuals who have distinguished themselves through outstanding philanthropic efforts contributing to the alleviation of human suffering by reducing the impacts of disease or promoting health.
Mrs. Makhzoumi has been President of the organization that bears her family’s name for 14 years. The Foundation’s mission is to promote the evolution of the Lebanese civil society; its services touch 15% of the country’s citizens. The organization created a healthcare network and has opened several health clinics that provide equal access for all patients to a wide variety of health services. The Makhzoumi Foundation has created civic vocational training centers, which have issued more than 100,000 certificates for programs that range from computer technology to accounting to cosmetology. The Foundation has also implemented an Agro Forestry project aimed at protecting the environment and promoting agriculture. Its Micro Credit program has provided over 6700 loans helping more than 2700 families expand their businesses.
Even more significantly, Mrs. Makhzoumi’s organization was the first in Lebanon to partner with the UN Refugee Agency to provide relief to vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers fleeing Syria. Lebanon has a population of about 4.5 million people. Since the Syrian conflict began in the spring of 2011, more than 1.3 million Syrians have crossed the border in search of shelter. Refugees have scattered around the country and are living in informal tent settlements, in old construction sites and in underground parking garages. But sheer numbers are straining health, education and housing services to the brink of collapse.
Operating primarily in Beirut and districts in Mount Lebanon, The Makhzoumi Foundation provides support to about 60,000 refugees each month – 25% of them young children. In addition to offering free medical services her organization has helped people find shelter and has distributed medications, blankets and clothing, household goods and food coupons – as well as providing classes and training to help the refugees adjust to their new situation.
“It is quite humbling to have Mrs. Makhzoumi in our midst at the BAC meeting,” said Brian Kennedy, PhD, Buck Institute President and CEO. “We are thrilled to honor her with this year’s award and are grateful for the opportunity to ask ourselves how we can best support those in need.”
About the Buck Advisory Council (BAC)
The BAC comprises a diverse group of individuals from the United States and around the world. Members include leaders in government, business, finance, pharmaceuticals, law and other fields of endeavors. Many have served as advisors to governments, public commissions and nonprofit commissions. These leaders provide advice on strategic priorities, serve as ambassadors to raise the visibility of Institute achievements, and set the pace for philanthropy at the Institute. The BAC meets twice each year: in the San Francisco Bay Area each spring and in a foreign destination each fall. At these meetings, members participate in panel discussions with faculty and other experts and develop ideas to promote the Buck Institute globally as a leader in research on aging and age-related disease.
About the Buck Institute for Research on Aging
The Buck Institute is the U.S.’s first independent research organization devoted to Geroscience – focused on the connection between normal aging and chronic disease. Based in Novato, CA, The Buck is dedicated to extending “Healthspan”, the healthy years of human life and does so utilizing a unique interdisciplinary approach involving laboratories studying the mechanisms of aging and those focused on specific diseases. Buck scientists strive to discover new ways of detecting, preventing and treating age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, cancer, cardiovascular disease, macular degeneration, osteoporosis, diabetes and stroke. In their collaborative research, they are supported by the most recent developments in genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics and stem cell technologies. For more information: www.buckinstitute.org.