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J.P. Morgan judges award Gardens for Health International $25,000

J.P. Morgan is donating $25,000 to a student-run, not-for-profit organization that provides nutritional and economic support to HIV positive individuals in Rwanda. The firm is making the donation on behalf of the winning team of undergraduate students who recently competed in the second annual J.P. Morgan Good Venture Undergraduate Competition.

Recently, teams of up to four students made a business, cultural and social case for donating to a specific cause and presented to a panel J.P. Morgan judges.T This This year, J.P. Morgan’s Good Venture competition expanded to schools internationally, resulting in 101 undergrad teams that applied, a 25% increase from last year. Ten teams made it to the final round.

"There was so much enthusiasm, knowledge, awareness, and poise amongst the presenters. I have a very positive and high regard for those students who took the time and prepared the presentations, making sure the financial and analytical sides all fit and showing how $25,000 can actually create a multitude of change and worthy benefits”, said Alex Lynch, chairman, North American Mergers & Acquisitions, who served as one of the Good Venture judges.

Members of the judging team also included: Chris Harvey, managing director, Capital Structure Advisory and Solutions; Frank Hewitt, executive director, Leveraged Finance Distribution; Gayle Jennings-O’Byrne, vice president; and Kimberly Shin, director of private sector careers, Teach for America.

Launched in 2006, the Good Venture competition allows J.P. Morgan to reinforce its values-based culture while connecting with and engaging a broad base of talented and diverse students who are passionate about and committed to a cause. It has also been a successful way to engage current employees with philanthropic organizations.

"Good Venture takes the wonderful work that students on campuses are doing to bring about social change and allows J.P. Morgan to fund and support their efforts. It’s great to bridge that new generation with an established corporation to work together and support a common cause,” said Jennings- O’Byrne.

The winning team presented on behalf of Gardens for Health International (GHI) which works to develop replicable and sustainable solutions through a network of community gardens in Rwanda, ultimately providing nutritional and economic support to HIV positive individuals.

Having met as interns at the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative, team members Emma Clippinger of Brown University and Emily Morrell of Yale University created GHI in response to the lack of HIV/AIDS programs that address malnutrition as part of care and treatment. Yale students Julie Carney and Hae-in-Lim are the other half of the winning team.

“With all the resources devoted to curbing HIV/AIDS, structural problems such as having adequate food supplies and poverty were overlooked. We wanted to create an HIV/AIDS program that addressed these issues,” said Morrell, who spent her internship in Rwanda. GHI’s program includes three components: agricultural cooperatives for vegetable and fruit production comprised of people living with HIV/AIDS; education and training in sustainable agriculture and nutrition; and income generation through crop and seed sales.

“Good Venture was an incredible opportunity for Gardens for Health International and we are thrilled with the outcome. J.P. Morgan's support will allow the organization to vastly increase the scope and impact of its work in Rwanda,” said Clippinger. The donation will be allocated to working with 3,000 HIV positive people in Rwanda and opening an animal husbandry program for 4,000 program participants.

Runners-up in this year’s undergraduate competition are: Vida Jovem, an organization dedicated to helping underprivileged children in Brazil (presented by a Stanford University team); and the Peter McVerry Trust, aimed at creating a safe haven for marginalized citizens in Ireland (presented by a University College of Dublin team). The winner and runners-up earned spots in J.P. Morgan’s upcoming Give-It-Away campaign, another socially responsible initiative created by J.P. Morgan. Students vote online at jpmorgan.com/giveitaway for the organization they would like to receive a $30,000 donation from the Investment Bank and Asset Management campus recruitment campaign.

13 February 2008

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