Neil Patel Honored as Global Fellow by International Youth Foundation

November 26, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Neil Patel, Co-CEO and Founder of HealthCare Volunteer was honored on November 8 as a YouthActionNet™ Global Fellow by the International Youth Foundation. Held at the Embassy of Finland and co-sponsored by Nokia, the event honored Patel and 19 other social entrepreneurs under 30 for their efforts towards tackling some of the world’s most pressing issues. YouthActionNet™ serves to both recognize and support young people who are acting as forces for social change in their communities, and communities around the world.

The award marks the significant strides that HealthCare Volunteer has made since its foundation. Looking to do volunteer work on a trip to Brazil two years ago, Patel and co-founder Elliot Mendelsohn found it near impossible to locate opportunities on the internet. Armed with the knowledge that at least 1.3 billion people worldwide lack basic healthcare, they were troubled by the lack of publicized volunteer opportunities. Patel realized the need for an easily accessible medium that would connect those in need to those seeking to help. Founded in late 2005, HealthCare Volunteer fills that void. Today, over 2,000 organizations from across the globe have posted volunteer and employment opportunities to the site. An approximate 12,000 volunteer connections have been made through HealthCare Volunteer, and its subsidiary DentalVolunteer.

The International Youth Foundation arranged for a week’s worth of activities for the group of young social activists. Coming to Washington from countries around the world, the Fellows had time to discuss and compare ideas with one another, as well as meet with various individuals from companies such as CNN and Porter Novelli. Fellows were interviewed for CNN International and will receive pro bono public relations services for years to come from Porter Novelli.

The experience was a powerful one for Patel. Being able to spend a week with people who are as passionately committed to being engaged in, and solving, some of the world’s most pressing problems solidified for him the power of grassroots movements. He notes, “The grassroots organizations of today will become everyday organizations for the coming decades.”

Patel also realized that the scope of HealthCare Volunteer should be broader than only healthcare workers and medical professionals. He wants to target all people looking to do good, whether they have a background in business, law, or something else. All skills will be valuable in the effort to deliver healthcare services to the places they are needed most.