Yesterday, while reading Kenny Smith's column on Yahoo! Sports about some of the good guys in the NBA, I became inspired to finally learn more about Dikembe Mutombo's 10-year-campaign to build a hospital in Kinshasa, Congo. After all, $30 million could either buy a hospital - or Alex Rodriguez's services for one year.
While Mutombo might enjoy hanging out with A-Rod, he made the commitment to build the hospital back in 1997. Here's a link to the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation's accomplishments during the past decade. According to Wikipedia, Mutombo donated $3.5 million of his own dough to the hospital project.
What this list of accomplishments doesn't mention is the potential troubles that Mutombo faced. Some have mentioned that he might have faced problems convincing Congolese politicians that he didn't have a political agenda, while others have mentioned that he had trouble convincing Western donors that the money would actually get to the hospital. This link takes you to a 2006 piece from USA Today, which includes lines like:
In the early stages, the foundation sought to raise money by sponsoring fundraising events. That effort was disastrous. A silent auction in 1999 lost $45,000.
"His intentions are unquestionable. His efforts are unquestionable," Thompson says. "I was concerned with the number of dollars being used for what they're supposed to be used for. We've all heard stories of things not going where they're supposed to."
I think that if you click on that link to those accomplishments up above, you'll see that he's paid for ambulances to be shipped into the Kinshasa (including the first working one in years). And just in case you doubt where that money is going, check this link out to the interactive floorplans of this hospital.
Then, in July of 2007, Dikembe celebrated the dedication of his new hospital.Keep an eye out for the shots of current hospital conditions, and compare them to what you see in the video. It's quite a difference.
So, I'm happy to see that Dikembe is achieving his goal. It'll obviously affect thousands, if not millions, of people for years to come, in a very positive way.
Will A-Rod ever do something of this magnitude? No, but then again, who is? A-Rod has made quite a few donations of his own though, click here to check them out. Also, here's a link to some of his many other charitable efforts.