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Obama Donating $1.4M Nobel Prize to Charities

Date: Friday, March 12, 2010 

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama plans to donate the $1.4 million from his Nobel Peace Prize to helping students, veterans’ families and survivors of Haiti’s earthquake, among others, drawing attention to organizations he said “do extraordinary work.”

Obama is giving a total of $750,000 to six groups that help kids go to college. Fisher House, which provides housing for families with loved ones at Veterans Administration hospitals, will receive $250,000, the White House said Thursday. And the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund, for which two former presidents are raising money to rebuild earthquake-ravaged Haiti, will receive $200,000.

“These organizations do extraordinary work in the United States and abroad helping students, veterans and countless others in need,” Obama said in a statement. “I’m proud to support their work.”

Obama was chosen for the Nobel award more for his aspirations and approach than his accomplishments thus far. The Nobel committee honored him for changing the tenor of international politics and for pursuing goals Obama says will require worldwide effort, such as nuclear disarmament and reversing global warming.

Obama himself was surprised by the award, and aides said at the time he would donate the cash prize to charity.

The Fisher House donation would help pay for three new homes at Bethesda Naval Hospital and Dover Air Force Base, where the bodies of Americans killed overseas are flown.

“It’s work that needs to be done for these men and women who have served this nation so gallantly,” Fisher House Foundation Chairman and CEO Kenneth Fisher said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It’s a privilege to serve these men and women and these families because they give so much to this nation.”

The funds for Haiti would go to the rebuilding effort led by former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. A Jan. 12 earthquake wrecked Haiti and killed an estimated 200,000 people, and the U.S. is playing an active role in rebuilding the country.

In addition, Obama plans to give $125,000 apiece to groups that help students go to college: College Summit, a national nonprofit that works with elementary and middle school students to boost college enrollment rates; the Posse Foundation, which gives full college scholarships to public school students who might be overlooked by traditional scholarship programs; United Negro College Fund; the Hispanic Scholarship Fund; the Appalachian Leadership and Education Foundation; and the American Indian College Fund.

And Obama is donating $100,000 to AfriCare, which funds HIV/AIDS programs, public health programs, water resource development and agriculture in 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. He will give $100,000 to the Central Asia Institute, which promotes education for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Obama accepted his peace prize just days after announcing he was ramping up U.S. involvement in the war in Afghanistan.