Former President Bill Clinton is defending the work of his global foundation, telling donors it remains a nonpartisan philanthropy and likening recent critiques of the charity to political attacks.
“It’s the political season in America, so the purpose and impact of the efforts your support makes possible (have) largely been ignored in recent coverage of the foundation,” Clinton wrote in a letter. “But we are and always have been a nonpartisan, inclusive foundation with lots of support from and involvement by people across the political spectrum and governments from right to left, all committed to our creative solutions-centered work.”
Clinton said he was writing to express gratitude and tell supporters “how determined I am that our work will continue.”
As Hillary Rodham Clinton seeks the Democratic nomination for president, the Clinton Foundation has faced scrutiny for its fundraising practices and acceptance of money from foreign governments. Republicans have said the charity has become a way for the Clintons to sell access to influential donors and that it acts like a political organization.
The former president, who recently traveled to Africa to review foundation programs, wrote that the group has helped nearly 10 million people in more than 70 countries access HIV/AIDS medication and 16 million children in the U.S. get healthier food and more exercise opportunities. He said the foundation has improved lives in more than 180 countries in its 14 years.
Donna Shalala will start as the foundation’s new president and chief executive officer next week, he said. Shalala, a former health and human services secretary under Clinton and president of the University of Miami, was named to the position in March.
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