NEW YORK (AP) — The Clinton Global Initiative's blend of government and private-sector effort has helped millions of people worldwide, former President Bill Clinton said Sunday, highlighting the philanthropic network's accomplishments at a time when his family's charitable efforts have come under scrutiny.
The 10-year-old initiative has facilitated programs that aided more than 430 million people in 180 countries, with government, private and civil-society entities working together in 90 percent of the programs, he noted at the initiative's annual meeting.
"There are some people who don't understand it or question whether it's a good idea," the Democratic former president said, but it's gotten results.
Forty-six million children have better educational opportunities, more than 110 million women and children have better access to health care, and clean drinking water is more available to over 27 million people, he said.
The initiative gets corporations and governments to channel money into projects meant to solve international problems, without direct donations from its parent organization, the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.
The foundation has raised more than $2 billion since 2001 to fight poverty, global warming, AIDS, childhood obesity and other problems.
But amid Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign, the foundation has faced questions this year about foreign donors and other aspects of its fundraising. The Clintons have denied any improprieties and have said the criticism amounts to election-season attacks.
The foundation stopped raising money from foreign governments when Hillary Clinton became secretary of state in 2009 but resumed after she left the administration in 2013. The State Department has said a review found no evidence that donations to the foundation influenced any of her actions as secretary.
After announcing her presidential candidacy in April, she resigned from the foundation's board and the foundation said it would stop taking money from foreign governments except Australia, Canada and four European countries.
The foundation also announced that foreign governments would no longer be allowed to sponsor events at Global Initiative meetings, which are no longer being held overseas.
The initiative prides itself on some 3,200 "commitments to action" — concrete plans for a new approach to a major problem — by its members.
One such pledge has led to financial education for more than 1.2 million poor women and youths and scholarships for more than 10,000 students in Kenya. Another has spawned more than 430 successful online crowdfunding campaigns for projects centered on women and girls. A third, aimed at enlisting African-American churches in combatting HIV and AIDS, has trained more than 500 religious leaders.
"We're in the middle of defining the terms of our interdependence in a world where so much of our identity is caught up in our differences," Bill Clinton said. "So our job, as citizens — those of us who have no political power — is to do what we can to build up the positive forces of our interdependence and reduce the negative ones."