American Philanthropists Get Onboard With Mercy Ships

T. Boone Pickens Foundation Matches Rees-Jones Foundation Gift in Support of Hospital Ship for Africa

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The Africa Mercy is currently docked in Liberia where life-changing surgeries onboard and community development projects in surrounding communities are affecting thousands of lives.

We are thrilled to have the support of these two foundations which have big hearts for the forgotten poor. Our volunteers are only able to help those in Africa through the generosity of others, and we are honored to have them engaged to support our mission of hope and healing.

Garden Valley, Texas (Vocus) April 16, 2008

Two Texas-based foundations, The Rees-Jones Foundation and the T. Boone Pickens Foundation, have announced matching gifts of $2 million each towards the work of the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship, the Africa Mercy.

The Rees-Jones family toured the Africa Mercy in Newcastle, England, while the vessel was still under shipyard refit from rail ferry to hospital ship. While onboard, they caught the vision of what the ship could provide to the poorest of the poor in Africa. Over the ensuing months, The Rees-Jones Foundation made grants totaling $2 million to support this vision.

“The vision of our foundation is that those who are poor and disadvantaged or who are suffering spiritually, physically or emotionally will experience the love of Christ in tangible ways, receiving relief from their suffering, encouragement in their growth and improvement in their quality of life,” stated Trevor Rees-Jones who, with his wife Jan, founded The Rees-Jones Foundation. “The vision of Mercy Ships matches ours exactly.”

Upon hearing of The Rees-Jones Foundation pledge of support during the Dallas visit of Mercy Ships patron and former Prime Minister Sir John Major last fall, T. Boone Pickens offered to match that amount through his foundation.

“Mercy Ships offers first world care to those who might not otherwise have access to any health care at all,” stated Pickens. “We are pleased to invest in the ongoing work of such a world-class operation.”

The 16, 572 ton Africa Mercy, owned and operated by the charity Mercy Ships, made its maiden voyage to Africa last year and is currently docked in the Port of Monrovia, Liberia. Since the ship’s arrival last May, volunteer professionals have provided surgeries and health care procedures for more than 15,000 Liberians as part of the effort by Africa’s first woman president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to rebuild the nation’s healthcare infrastructure after more than a decade of civil war in the country.

Don Stephens, founder and president of Mercy Ships says, “We are thrilled to have the support of these two foundations which have big hearts for the forgotten poor. Our volunteers are only able to help those in Africa through the generosity of others, and we are honored to have them engaged to support our mission of hope and healing.”

About Mercy Ships
Mercy Ships is the leader in using hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services to the poor. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships brings hope and healing to the poor in developing nations. Over the past 30 years, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $670 million, directly impacting more than 1.9 million people. More than 850 crew worldwide, representing more than 30 nations, are joined each year by thousands of short-term volunteers. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, community developers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort.

About The Rees-Jones Foundation
Founded in 2006 by Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, the Foundation’s mission is to provide support and funding for programs that will help improve in tangible ways the quality of life and life circumstances of the people it serves, with a special emphasis on assisting underserved children and their families. Foundation grants support work in the areas of education, health, affordable housing, economic development, and human services.

About the T. Boone Pickens Foundation: The Dallas-based T. Boone Pickens Foundation seeks to improve lives through grants supporting educational programs, medical research, athletics and corporate wellness, at-risk youth, the entrepreneurial process, and conservation and wildlife initiatives.

For further information, contact:

Mercy Ships
Pauline Rick
U.S. Public Relations Director
Mercy Ships
Phone: 903-939-7649

Diane Rickard, Director Media Relations
Mercy Ships
Phone: 44 1438 727 800
http://www.mercyships.org

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