Join My Village, a “click-to-commit” social change initiative, is launching the second year of its online community with a new partner: American country music singer and songwriter Lee Ann Womack.

Individuals will have the power to release up to $500,000 of General Mills’ charitable dollars for economic and educational opportunities for women and girls in Malawi. The campaign is a partnership between General Mills and leading international humanitarian organization CARE.

Join My Village puts the power of General Mills’ corporate philanthropy in the hands of individuals. To unlock the dollars, users can visit joinmyvillage.com to learn more about girls and women in Malawi and be a part of the change in their future. Watching a video about a girl’s new opportunity to attend secondary school, reading a story of a woman starting her own business, or listening to a sample of African music from a Malawi village enables users’ ‘clicks’ to release donations from General Mills. In addition, General Mills will match all individual donations dollar for dollar, up to the $500,000 goal. Through videos, photos and frequent blog posts from Malawi, participants can follow the real impact being made every time they take an online action to “click-to-commit” General Mills’ dollars, or make their own personal donation.

“As a mother of two girls, I see the opportunities that education has created for my daughters’ future,” said Lee Ann Womack. “I believe that every girl in the world has unlimited potential and by supporting Join My Village I know we can provide girls with opportunities to learn, achieve and improve their future.”

Womack will appear in a public service campaign, various events and social media activities to raise awareness. Womack has also set a goal of rallying 100,000 of her fans to join the effort during her upcoming 18-city tour with George Strait and Reba McEntire next year.

Launched in September 2009, the Join My Village initiative combines General Mills’ extensive consumer reach and cause marketing expertise with CARE’s proven approaches to fighting global poverty through the empowerment of girls and women. Join My Village is an example of the organizations’ belief that if we all click, we all become more aware and we all become a part of the solution to end global poverty.

“Giving back to our communities is inherent in our company’s culture,” said Ken Powell, Chairman and CEO of General Mills. “Extending opportunities to the developing world – especially empowering women – is part of the General Mills mission of Nourishing Lives.”

CARE is proud of our partnership with General Mills on this innovative and high impact program,” said Helene D. Gayle, President and CEO, CARE USA. “The first year of Join My Village resulted in strong support for communities in Malawi with programs that integrated girls’ education and women’s economic empowerment. Join My Village is uniquely positioned to harness the power of consumer participation and change the way people support the fight against global poverty.”

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in Africa, with 40 percent of the population below the poverty line. Life expectancy is 44 years of age. Only 50 percent of Malawian women are able to read and write. However, women and girls are also the greatest hope for ending global poverty. Investing in women and girls has proven to have enormous impact on families, communities and countries. In its second year, Join My Village will focus on empowering girls through education. Donations will provide secondary school scholarships to set girls on the path to a brighter future, bring female teachers to villages as much-needed role models and educational advocates for girls, and enable women to learn new business skills to contribute to their family’s income.

Join My Village is part of General Mills’ larger commitment to invest in the people of Africa for sustainable change. General Mills takes a multi-pronged investment approach to its corporate social responsibility, involving company operations, the General Mills Foundation and engaging employees at all levels.

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