MEXICO CITY, Oct. 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Countess Spencer, who founded Whole Child International in 2004, has been elected an Ashoka Fellow. She joins the world's largest and most influential network of social entrepreneurs in recognition of her decade of visionary work establishing and building Whole Child International.
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Earl Spencer, who serves on the Whole Child board, shared his appreciation for his wife's work: "Karen's a beautiful woman with an even more beautiful heart. I'm in awe of what she's done over the past decade for these agonizingly vulnerable children. I'm thrilled for her that she's received this recognition, and hope it will inspire more individuals, corporations and foundations to join us in this effort to help some of the most needy and underserved children in the world."
Karen Spencer founded Whole Child International when she discovered that most of the larger organizations addressing child welfare issues in developing countries have policies against working with orphanages. Her charity fills that gap, and has been proven by third-party evaluation to potentially improve the lives of millions of children.
Diego Diaz-Martin, Executive Director of Ashoka Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, said, "We are delighted to welcome Karen as a Fellow. She has identified a major and global problem — the failure to invest time, leadership, or other resources in the world's orphanages — even though they remain responsible for millions of children. She has developed a comprehensive and well-designed approach dealing with each class of actor serving the field."
Karen's program is unique, scalable, and innovative, applicable not just in orphanages, but across the entire spectrum of childcare. It works with all sectors, partnering directly with government, academia, and direct caregivers. Whole Child is collaborating with Duke University's Global Health Institute to measure impact, and gain insights to help future program development.
"In founding Whole Child, I was passionate about finding a way to give the most vulnerable children a fighting chance," said Karen Spencer. "This recognition by Ashoka helps shine new light on the profound need for quality care, and also on the exciting reality that there is something we can do, today, with existing resources and settings to give these forgotten children a chance of a productive life."
"Today we are honored to be of service to the government of El Salvador as they implement the President's ambitious initiatives to improve quality of care for vulnerable children in their country. I would also like to thank the Inter-American Development Bank, the Korean Poverty Reduction Fund, and the private donors who have enabled us to come this far. Hopefully this recognition will lead to more support for our work, as there are so many children in need, and so many more governments interested in partnering with us to help their children reach their full potential."
Additional information on Whole Child International and Countess Spencer's induction as an Ashoka Fellow can be found at https://www.ashoka.org/fellow/karen-spencer.
About Whole Child International (www.wholechild.org)
Whole Child International is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that works to improve quality of care for vulnerable children in orphanages and other limited-resource childcare settings.
About Ashoka (www.ashoka.org)
Ashoka launched the field of social entrepreneurship and has activated multi-sector partners across the world who increasingly look to entrepreneurial talent and new ideas to solve social problems. Founded by Bill Drayton in 1980, Ashoka has provided a platform for people dedicated to changing the world.
Contact: Andrea Iturbe
Edelman, Los Angeles