Tuesday, July 24, 2007

American Express Announces Top Five Project Ideas for The Members Project; Final Voting Phase Ends Aug. 5

Today, GoodBiz113 ad partner American Express® announced the top five project ideas selected as finalists for The Members Project, the unique online initiative that's bringing American Express Cardmembers together to submit, discuss and rate ideas to make a positive impact in the world.

Thousands of Cardmembers from across the country have come together to vote, narrowing the field from the top 50 project ideas to the top 25, and now to the top five. Cardmembers have through Sunday, Aug. 5, to cast their vote for the winning idea, which will be announced on Aug. 7.

As the final voting phase of The Members Project begins, American Express is calling for Cardmembers to register and vote for their favorite project idea. For every Cardmember that registers, American Express will contribute $1 toward the winning idea. American Express has committed at least $1 million to bring the winning idea to life.

Final Five Project Ideas
Following, is a list of the five finalists. [NOTE: Cardmember-selected project categories and project descriptions are in their own words.]

* "Teachers ask. You choose. Students learn. -- This program aims to create a website where public school teachers can request specific educational projects for their classrooms, and individuals can log on to choose which projects to fund, in turn, providing educational tools for students from low-income families nationwide." Fulfilling organization: DonorsChoose.org.

* "Plant a Million Trees: Global Reforestation -- From forest fires to rainforest destruction, to natural water disasters to overdevelopment, trees are disappearing in vast numbers all over the globe. This plan suggests planting millions of trees where they are needed most." Fulfilling organization: American Forests.

* "Wind and Solar for Residential -- This project plans to create a small power-generating unit that is small and powerful enough to be placed into every residential home. The ultimate goal of the project is to create a community of homes to help generate power for the power companies to use." Fulfilling organization: American Solar Energy Society.

* "Children's Safe Drinking Water -- Four thousand children die needlessly every day from drinking contaminated water. This program aims to address this issue through an innovative and low-cost technology that effectively purifies and cleans water while removing bacteria, viruses, and parasites." Fulfilling organization: US Fund for UNICEF.

* "Restore our U.S. National Parks -- The United States' National Parks and Historic Sites are in disrepair, and funding is needed to repair and refurbish. This project aims to provide funding to the landmarks that define our nation." Fulfilling organization: National Park Foundation.

Thought Leaders Contribute to Selection Process
American Express worked with an Advisory Panel of renowned thought leaders in a variety of fields to review the top-rated projects, as rated by the Cardmembers, and select the top 50 project ideas. Based on popular Cardmember vote, the top 50 project ideas have been narrowed down to the top five.

Cardmembers can now again cast their vote, with the winning idea announced on Aug. 7. Cardmembers can register on http://www.membersproject.com/ through Aug. 5.

Advisory Panelists include:

* Geoff Canada -- President and CEO, Harlem Children’s Zone

* Ellen DeGeneres -- Comedian and Talk-Show Host

* Dr. Jane Goodall -- Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace

* Dr. Sanjay Gupta [pictured above] -- CNN Chief Medical Correspondent and Neurosurgeon

* Rosabeth Moss Kanter -- Harvard Business School Professor

* Dr. Michael Lomax -- President and CEO, United Negro College Fund

* Wynton Marsalis -- Artistic Director, Jazz at Lincoln Center

* Gabrielle Reece -- Professional Volleyball Player and Sports/Fitness Expert

American Express, Membership and Giving Back
American Express Company [http://www.americanexpress.com/] is a leading global payments, network and travel company founded in 1850. American Express has been synonymous with “Membership” since it introduced “Member Since” dates on its Cards in 1964, and has continued to develop a sense of membership through the special benefits and exceptional services offered to Cardmembers.

The Members Project -- which is a part of American Express’s new brand campaign, “Are You a Cardmember?[SM]” -- highlights the value of being part of the American Express Cardmember community. Giving back is a core value of the Company, and being a “good citizen” is a hallmark of the brand.

Over the years, American Express has supported causes that are important to Cardmembers, merchant partners and the general public -- from reopening the Statue of Liberty after 9/11, to fighting hunger and preserving historic sites around the world. Through these programs, including The Members Project, American Express is providing an outlet for consumers’ desire to “do good.”

Sources: American Express, CNN [photo]

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