Campaign To Elicit Donations For Health Projects From Airline Travelers Winds Down Amid Funding Woes

The Switzerland-based Millennium Foundation, a UNITAID-funded campaign to solicit donations for health projects from airline travelers, “is being wound down after spending nearly $20 million to generate less than $300,000 over the past four years,” the Financial Times reports. “The lack of successful fundraising sparked concerns from health campaigners over the waste of scarce resources at a time when funding is declining and millions of people around the world are dying each year from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria,” the newspaper writes.

The directors of the campaign, “who include representatives from the British, French and Brazilian governments, as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Oxfam, say they relied heavily on over-optimistic projections produced ahead of the 2008 economic crisis by [consulting firm] McKinsey suggesting potential annual donations by 2011 of $1 billion,” the Financial Times notes. “Henk Mulder, the foundation’s chief executive appointed after a restructuring, defended the high start-up costs and said the board had considered building on its success in raising funds in Spain in partnership with the Red Cross, but ultimately decided it would take too long to replicate in other countries,” the newspaper writes (Jack, 2/29).