June 5, 2013, During the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy
The United Nations, New York City
Thank you, I am Steve Forbes. And I think we all will agree this has been a stirring day. Tonight we’ve got several things in store. We are giving out two awards tonight. And I think we’d also agree that what happened today is simply the beginning – a catalyst, not a culmination.
And I think that what one of our award winners tonight, Muhammad Yunus said, that you begin things with a small step and that leads to big things. And that’s one reason why we focused on Liberia, a country that was shattered, but anyone who was at lunch today was inspired and can see that when people come together and want to make positive things happen, positive things will happen.
And I think we also can take to heart what Bono said during his session about commerce, about free enterprise being a huge poverty reducer. It enables people, as Lincoln put it, to improve their lot in life. But, as we all know, even vibrant free markets don’t always operate at the pace and have the reach that we would like. So clearly, government can’t do it alone, NGOs can’t do it alone, free enterprise can’t do it alone, although it can do a lot. And philanthropy, private philanthropy, can only do so much. But you bring these tools together and amazing things will happen.