- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 9, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) - An Atlanta nonprofit focused on global health known for highlighting the work of its partners is getting a turn in the spotlight and a $2 million award from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

The foundation announced Tuesday that The Task Force for Global Health received the annual prize. The Task Force, founded in 1984 to focus on child immunizations, now targets tropical diseases and other health issues in more than 150 countries.

Peter Laugharn, president and CEO of the Hilton Foundation, said jury members were impressed by the organization’s work - and the charity’s model of acting as a “silent partner” in cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, health care organizations and other nonprofits.

“The Task Force is not a household name, but it’s an organization that has accomplished incredible things,” Laugharn said. “They’ve done it in a way that’s not self-marketing … and I do think their humility has meant they’re not that widely known.”

The Task Force focuses on preventing diseases limited to people in extreme poverty, including blinding trachoma and river blindness, in developing countries. Current projects include securing and distributing medications or vaccines, helping counties develop ways to detect and respond to diseases, and studying child mortality rates.

The Task Force’s President and CEO David Ross said the group hopes to expand its focus to chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Ross said the group is centered on decades-long partnerships. This May, for instance, the Task Force organized transport of antibiotics donated by the drug-maker Pfizer to Ethiopia, where it partnered with The Carter Center to distribute medication for blinding trachoma to 7.4 million people in a week.

Ross said those links make lasting change possible worldwide. The trachoma partners have targeted 2020 to eliminate the disease.

“We’re doing this to eliminate human suffering on a very large scale,” Ross said. “The way we do it is through these powerful partnerships.”

Ross said the $2 million will help a fundraising campaign for a new, bigger headquarters in metro Atlanta. An award ceremony is planned Sept. 30 in New York.


This story has been corrected to show the foundation’s name is the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, not the Conrad H. Hilton Foundation.

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