From the President

 


Fred Olsson
President & CEO
Planet Aid, Inc.


Dear Supporters and Friends,

The year 2019 brought a change in the leadership of Planet Aid. I am saddened to share with you the passing of Planet Aid’s founder and long-term president and CEO, Ester Neltrup. For two years, Ester bravely fought an aggressive form of cancer, a disease that ultimately took her away from us on June 26. She was a cornerstone of the organization who advocated for a more equitable world. Her passing made many of us realize how precious life is and that we should not postpone pursuing our dreams and aspirations of creating a better world together with the poor and disfranchised.

Ester was a trained teacher, a background that helped her immensely in her role as president and CEO of Planet Aid. She founded Planet Aid in 1997 together with other teachers at a school for international volunteerism in the Berkshires, Mass. She soon left the school to work full-time to build Planet Aid, which over the years has become an important contributing member of Humana People to People worldwide.

Ester hired me in 1997 to start Planet Aid’s work in Boston.  Together we built the organization to a large, used-clothing collection and recycling charity, with a second phase of securing funding for development programs as well as U.S. government and corporate grant programs.  Worthwhile mentioning here is our long-standing partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which has developed and expanded since 2004 to work with underserved people and communities in Mozambique and Malawi. This partnership has significantly improved their opportunities in education, health, nutrition, and food security.

The year 2019 was no exception. In Mozambique, over 100,000 children, teachers, and community members were impacted through Planet Aid’s integrated school feeding program “Food for Knowledge,” funded by USDA through its McGovern-Dole Food for Education program. I invite you to read more about the impact of this flagship program in this Annual Report.

I came into the position of president and CEO in early 2019 when Ester stepped down due to her illness. I want to thank all staff, colleagues, partners, and the Planet Aid board of directors for being supportive and working together during this transition period. As we move forward, I am inspired by how Ester took care of Planet Aid, and am committed to being a leader who remains steadfast in our mission and dedicated to the people who are the heart of it all.

Sincerely,

Freddy Olsson
President & CEO


 

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