In May of 2006, Rick Reilly wrote a single column that wound up changing millions of lives. In that column, Reilly asked his Sports Illustrated readers to send $10 each to hang malaria nets over kids in Africa. He invented, on the spot, a foundation he called, “Nothing But Nets.” It raised $100,000 in the first week. Now it’s up to $65 million and has helped deliver 12 million bed nets to families in need, along with other crucial malaria interventions like diagnostics, treatment, and training of healthcare workers.
In partnership with the United Nations Foundation — a non-profit organization out of Washington, D.C. begun by Ted Turner — Nothing But Nets has been a phenomenon.
“It’s such a no-brainer even sportswriters can figure it out,” Reilly says. “You send $10. That buys a net. We hang it over a family in sub-Saharan Africa and their kids don’t die of malaria. Something else might get them, but not malaria.”
It’s working. The anti-malaria net movement spearheaded by Bill and Melinda Gates, The Bush presidency, the Jimmy Carter Foundation and Nothing But Nets, has reduced childhood malaria deaths in Africa by 33 percent.
It only takes 41 seconds. Go to NothingButNets.net (get it?) and send $10. That’s a net bottom line you’ll love.