Why I Gave $1 Billion to Support the UN

By Ted Turner, United Nations Foundation Founder and Chairman

We are a world of neighbors, and our fates and futures are connected. That’s why 20 years ago today, on September 18, 1997, I announced my donation of $1 billion to support United Nations causes. I believe the UN is humanity’s greatest hope for a better planet for my grandchildren and for people everywhere.

I made my gift at a time when some questioned the value of international engagement and the UN — questions that some are raising again today. The UN is of vital importance as the only organization that represents everyone, everywhere; an agency for countries to exchange words instead of bullets and find ways to work together on the problems that affect us all.

The UN does what no country can do alone — maintains peace through its 15 peacekeeping operations across four continents, promotes dialogue among hostile groups, launches global plans to end poverty and fight climate change, supports more than 60 countries with elections, and helps more than 100 million people in crises and emergencies. It’s simple: In an interconnected world, we all have a stake in ensuring human dignity for every person.

Delivering $1 billion for UN causes is the best investment I’ve ever made.

I love knowing that new groups and a whole new generation are working with the UN to stop child marriage, promote human rights, protect kids from diseases, and safeguard the planet. And since my donation, we’ve been able to draw many others to the cause. It’s amazing what kinds of things we’re able to achieve when people join together and dig deep.

The world is facing some tough obstacles, but I’ve never found much use in giving up. It’s much more effective to get to work, and the UN is where that happens. So, I’m going to keep supporting the UN and all the good work it does.

Let’s not turn our backs on the world; let’s join hands and change it! Indeed, we have no other choice.