President Clinton and CGI U Attendees Join Brad Pitt for the Groundbreaking of Make It Right Construction ProjectMarch 16, 2008
New Orleans, LA - President Bill Clinton today joined Brad Pitt and 600 students from around the world to formally break ground on Pitt’s Make it Right project, which will construct 150 sustainable and affordable homes in the Lower 9th Ward.
Students participating in the project have gathered this weekend in New Orleans for the inaugural meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative University. Held at Tulane University, this meeting convened students, university administrators, and activists together to take action towards solving some of the world’s most pressing issues.
"It is only fitting that we culminate a weekend focused on youth service by turning words in action," President Clinton said. "I’m pleased that Make It Right would invite us to be here today, to give us all the opportunity to restore the historic Lower 9th Ward and help residents rebuild after Hurricane Katrina."
Along with President Clinton, Pitt and residents from the Lower 9th Ward, the students cleaned and prepared more than 10 blocks of the neighborhood that will welcome the first returning residents to the area.
Pitt announced the launch of Make It Right at the 2007 CGI Annual Meeting. He and Steven Bing each committed $5 million to the project, for a total of $10 million in matching funds, and challenged others to join them in rebuilding New Orleans.
"We are so appreciative of the support we have received from the Lower 9th Ward Community, the Clinton Global Initiative, and university students from around the country at our groundbreaking today", said Brad Pitt. " I especially want to thank former President Bush and President Clinton for their early support of Make It Right. We are excited about today, but need to remember that our project is one small part of addressing a much larger need. Thousands of people still need help in order to return home."
Tom Darden, Executive Director of Make It Right, also thanked the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund for its contributions. "The Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund has played a vital role in New Orleans’ recovery, and Make It Right is honored to be the beneficiary of over a $1 million donation. Their commitment to our group and many others will make all the difference in New Orleans’ recovery."
President George Herbert Walker Bush was unable to attend the day’s activities in New Orleans but said: "I'm pleased to see the great progress that Make It Right is making toward building homes in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. President Clinton and I were inspired by how people across America came together to help rebuild New Orleans, and there is no better example than this wonderful project put together by Brad Pitt. The Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund was proud to play a tiny supporting role. I hope it is just the beginning of many more families coming home to this great American city."
About Make It Right:
In December 2006, Brad Pitt convened a group of experts in New Orleans to brainstorm about building green affordable housing on a large scale to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. Having spent time with community leaders and displaced residents determined to return home, Pitt realized that an opportunity existed to build houses that were not only stronger and healthier, but that had less impact on the environment. To demonstrate replicability, Pitt determined to locate the project in the Lower 9th Ward, one of the most devastated areas of New Orleans, proving that safe homes could and should be rebuilt. Pitt hopes that this project would be a catalyst for recovery and redevelopment throughout the Lower 9th Ward and across the city of New Orleans. For more information visitwww.makeitrightnola.org.
About the Clinton Global Initiative:
CGI U is a new, non-partisan project of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) that engages college students and universities in solving some of the world’s most pressing challenges. President Bill Clinton launched the CGI, a project of the Clinton Foundation, bringing together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world¹s most pressing challenges. CGI members have made nearly 1,000 "Commitments to Action" to address such issues as poverty alleviation, climate change, global health, and education, with the potential to impact the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world. To find out more, visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org or www.clintonfoundation.org.
About the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund
The Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund is made possible by contributions received from donors throughout the nation and the world in response to Hurricanes Katrina. The Fund was set up to provide grants for medium to long-term recovery needs in the affected areas. The Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund seeks to make a distinct impact on the unmet needs of the affected region in financial self-sufficiency, economic opportunity, and overall quality of life. For more information, visit www.bushclintonkatrinafund.com.