Renzo Rosso, founder of Diesel and its holding company, Only the Brave Srl, has been named a Global Leader by Millennium Promise, a group seeking to halve extreme poverty around the world by 2015.
A key element of Rosso’s role is Only the Brave Foundation’s sponsorship of the village of Dioro, which is in the African nation of Mali and has a population of 20,000. In addition to providing funding for agriculture, health and education in Dioro, Rosso will serve as an ambassador for Millennium Promise, encouraging corporations and young people to get involved in its programs. Millennium Promise was founded in 2005 by economist Jeffrey Sachs and businessman and philanthropist Ray Chambers.
The Only the Brave Foundation on Wednesday started an interactive Web site, otbfoundation.org, which allows users to learn about Dioro and its people, provides information on Millennium Development Goals and advises how to help. It also presents an overview of the foundation’s philanthropic efforts in Italy and elsewhere.
Rosso is Millennium Promise’s second Global Leader, joining Tommy Hilfiger in that designation. Last year, Hilfiger’s corporate foundation pledged $2 million for Millennium Promise, and in June launched a five-year campaign to support the organization. Hilfiger’s efforts focus on the village of Bugongi in Uganda.
Rosso said at a news conference at Diesel headquarters in New York on Tuesday that the Dalai Lama inspired him to start his foundation, which has been active since 2009 and has funded grants of $8 million.
“He told me that God has given me incredible opportunities,” Rosso said. “All my life I’ve worked very hard and I think now is the time to do some social work.”
The foundation’s efforts with Dioro began last year. “I did not want to announce something that was in the pipeline without any results at the time,” said Rosso, who visited Dioro in May.
“To have Renzo on your side is energy and creativity and ingenuity and reach,” Sachs said. “This is not about governments and proclamations. When you have someone who is world-class energy and world-class creativity, it makes a huge, huge difference.”
Madonna, Matt Damon and John Legend are active in Millennium Promise and corporate partners include General Electric Co., Novartis and Procter & Gamble Co.
“Each person brings something different to what I would call an all-hands-on-deck global movement,” said John McArthur, chief executive officer of Millennium Promise. The organization is hosting a summit at the U.N. next week where 140 global leaders are expected, including President Obama.