When Raymond Chambers learned that 1.2 million children were dying from malaria each year and that most of those deaths could be prevented by sleeping under a pesticide-treated mosquito net, Chambers joined a team of donors who have raised $9 billion and covered 800 million people in Africa with insect-resistant nets. Childhood deaths from malaria have been reduced by more than half, and Chambers and his partners are aiming for fewer than 100,000 by the end of 2015. Since 2008, Chambers has served as United Nations Special Envoy for Malaria.
Chambers has also put a lot of time and money into his hometown of Newark, New Jersey. He and the other private donors helped get the Prudential Center, the city’s first professional sports arena, built downtown. The facility, which now hosts the Devils of the NHL and Seton Hall University’s basketball team, is an effort to draw people and businesses back to this once-vibrant city. He is the founding chairman of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, a cultural hub that attracts prominent artists and half a million patrons every year. Rehabilitating Military Park in the center of Newark is the latest contribution by Chambers and other donors to the city.
Encouraging entrepreneurship is another of his interests. He donated his Simon Prize award to the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, which teaches high-school students in over 50 countries how to start their own businesses. “It’s something that I think would please Bill Simon very much were he alive today.”