Local nonprofit MAP International celebrates 60th anniversary in 2014

By Maria Saporta

Sixty years ago, MAP International was founded by the late J. Raymond Knighton in Chicago when he accepted a donation of $25,000 in surplus medicines from a leading pharmaceutical company.

That became the mission and working model of the international nonprofit, which now has its global headquarters in Atlanta and its operational base in Brunswick. For the past 60 years, MAP International has been providing medicines, helping prevent diseases and promoting health to create hope and lasting change in communities around the world.

Since 1954, MAP has provided nearly $5 billion in medicines to more than 2 billion people in need around the world.

In recognition of this milestone, MAP International will be celebrating its 60th anniversary throughout the year. It is one of the numerous global health and development organizations that call Atlanta home.

“It is a special honor to preside over the organization as it celebrates its 60th anniversary this year,” said Immanuel Thangaraj, chairman of MAP’s board, in a statement. “As we honor the past 60 years, we are looking to the future and expect 2014 to be a year of renewed vision, passion and commitment. In many ways, we feel as if we are just beginning!”

During the past six decades, MAP International has grown into one of the most respected humanitarian aid organizations in the world. It has received accolades from many notable people including the late Rev. Billy Graham, who stated that “MAP’s worldwide ministry of Christian compassion fulfills a God-given responsibility which you and I share – that of demonstrating the love of Christ for not only the spiritual but also the physical needs of mankind.”

While it started out with meager resources, MAP developed a unique business model which today can deliver $60 worth of medicines and medical supplies for each dollar donated.

With an extensive global procurement and logistics network, MAP is unrivaled in its ability to get hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of vital medicines and critical supplies into the hands of health professionals serving people in the world’s poorest communities each year.

MAP plans to celebrate its 60th anniversary with several exciting initiatives including the development of a unique medicines distribution program in Liberia, a multi-city thank you tour for donors and a restart of its planned giving program whereby donors are encouraged to make legacy gifts.

MAP International operates through its offices in the United States, Ecuador, Bolivia, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and Indonesia. Through partnerships with other organizations, it is involved in humanitarian efforts in more than 100 countries every year.

Currently MAP International is searching for a new president and CEO. Micahel Nyenhuis, who was with MAP International for 19 years — 14 years a its president and CEO. Nyenhuis recently stepped down to become president and CEO of Stamford, Ct.-based AmeriCares, one of the top 20 charitable organzations in the country.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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