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New York Governor Paterson and City Leaders Help Launch Mercy Corps' New Action Center

October 16, 2008

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Mercy Corps took action today to fight the number one preventable health risk worldwide — hunger — by opening the world's first Action Center to End World Hunger. The Action Center is an interactive public space that empowers visitors to help tackle the global challenges of hunger and poverty. Governor David Paterson, Mercy Corps CEO Neal Keny-Guyer, elected officials and special guests kicked off the grand opening of the Action Center in Battery Park City. A second Action Center will open in Portland, Oregon this fall as part of Mercy Corps' new global headquarters building in Old Town Chinatown.

To learn more about the Action Center to End World Hunger, please visit actioncenter.org.

"I am thrilled that this extraordinary organization has established itself in New York," said Governor Paterson. "And I am proud of the critical role that the Battery Park City Authority and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation played in getting this Action Center built. I expect it will inspire all who visit to take action in the fight against hunger. In these difficult times, it is so important to remember others around the country and the world who are suffering. As we celebrate today's ribbon-cutting, let us hope that we can eradicate hunger in our times."

The Action Center's opening takes place on World Food Day, an internationally recognized day to heighten public awareness about global hunger. The Action Center brings to life the daily experiences of aid workers and the communities they serve and offers ideas on creative solutions to today's most pressing global issues: hunger and poverty. Most importantly, the Action Center provides ways for visitors to get involved and take action.

A key component of the Action Center's exhibits is a welcome video hosted by Emmy Award-winning actress/comedian/writer Tina Fey of NBC's 30 Rock. Guests view the video in the "briefing area," which offers an overview of global issues. In addition, Ann Curry of NBC's Today and veteran CNN reporter Nic Robertson narrate part of the "Training Towers" exhibit. The training towers are state-of-the-art interactive video display that highlight specific global challenges related to hunger and poverty and include studies of how local communities, governments and other international aid groups like Mercy Corps are working together to address these challenges.

"The Action Center is much more than a physical space. Our goal is for it to be a portal to a lifetime of real world activism where visitors take action and become engaged in the critical issues of hunger and povert," said Mercy Corps Chief Executive Officer Neal Keny-Guyer. "We're bringing Mercy Corps' 30 years of global experience to help people better understand global issues, which we believe will have an important impact on our work abroad.

Designed by Edwin Schlossberg and his internationally recognized team at ESI Design, the new 4,000-square-foot Action Center features highly interactive, media-rich exhibits that utilize new technologies such as a customized Google Earth interface and numerous RSS feeds that provide breaking news from around the world. The Action Center has been designed to meet LEED Platinum standards and will be the first commercial interior in New York City to achieve this rating.

Leaders from government, business and the nonprofit sector joined Governor Paterson and Deputy Mayor Gibbs at the podium to address world hunger and how the Action Center can educate and empower visitors to help end it. Speakers included Council Member Alan Gerson, Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) Chairman James Gill and Avi Schick of Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC).

The Action Center was made possible by generous contributions from: BPCA ($1.5 million), LMDC ($1 million) which is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Mayor's office ($500,000), the City Council ($250,000), Joshua and Anita Bekenstein ($1 million) and Best Buy Co, Inc., with a $212,000 donation. No donations to Mercy Corps' global programs were used to fund the Action Centers.

To learn more about the Action Center to End World Hunger, please visit actioncenter.org.