Million-Dollar Race of Empowerment

Race4Change, the Canadian microfinance organisation counting Nobel Peace Prize nominees and former US Presidents amongst its supporters, is sending an unprecedented million-dollar mission to the 2011 East African Safari Classic rally.

Three classic Porsche 911s will contest the Kenyan endurance rally from November 19-28, on behalf of Race4Change. Their purpose: to promote microfinance as a means to empower the poorest in society, and inspire donations through the website at

“The East African Safari is the world’s toughest rally,” said Dr Steven Funk, the US-born philanthropist behind Race4Change. Funk is underwriting the event cost: all donations go to the poor. “Running through the heart and soul of Africa, Safari is the perfect opportunity to communicate our twin themes of women’s empowerment, and microfinance as a proven path to a better life.”

Safari 2011 is Funk’s latest commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI): the network of global leaders led by former US President, Bill Clinton. “The team behind Race4Change were early CGI supporters,” says Funk, “initially making $30 million in microfinance available, to escape poverty’s oppression. That commitment changed many lives for the better. In association with Kiva, the Womens World Bank and Kenya’s own Jamii Bora, lifts that success to the next level.”

Supplying vehicles and technical support, and sharing some of the cost are Safari rally experts, Tuthill Porsche. “For the Race4Change message to mobilise maximum support, and inspire donations from fans and followers, our rally cars must go the distance,” says Funk. “With Tuthill Porsche’s peerless record for preparation and reliability, I’m confident that will take the chequered flag.”

Race4Change’s leading driver on this landmark event is Björn Waldegard: the original World Rally Champion and a five-time Kenya winner – four times on the original Safari, and once on the Classic.

“Bjorn is a unique combination of speed, intelligence and competitive instinct,” smiles Funk. “He’s an all-time great and a hero of rally fans everywhere. Waldegard rallies to win, and so do we. Race4Change rallies to win hearts and minds: encouraging all to reach their full potential.

“ drives women’s empowerment, promoting freedom of choice and the liberation of enterprise. As long as our message reaches everyone who needs to hear it, and puts some wheels on African empowerment and enterprise, will count the East African Safari Classic 2011 a success!”