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And now, a few words about ATFP's sister organization, American Charities for Palestine.

ACP is a charitable organization founded in July 2007 for the purpose of creating a secure mechanism for distributing contributions that improve the quality of life for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, especially in the fields of health and education. In August 2008, ACP signed a Memorandum of Understanding with USAID ensuring that all recipients of ACP donations in Palestine are fully vetted and approved by USAID. This is the first partnership agreement between USAID and any private organization, and was described by USAID Administrator Henrietta Fore - who addressed last year's ATFP gala - as a “historic step.” Under this arrangement, ACP donors are assured that their generosity will be distributed in full compliance with US law as well as reaching truly deserving recipients.

Since signing this partnership agreement, ACP has started three charitable initiatives benefiting Palestinians in the West Bank, totaling over $700,000 in contributions. A portion of the proceeds from this evening's Gala will be going towards these ACP projects.

In November 2008 ACP, the Palestinian Ministry of Education, and USAID announced the distribution of 1,000 laptop computers to Palestinian students throughout the Occupied Territories.

Most recently, ACP partnered with CHF International and the Sheikh Mohammed Shami Foundation, to initiate a $400,000 development project in the West Bank village of Beit Ur Al-Tahta. A $150,000 donation by the Shami Foundation was matched by $200,000 from USAID to complete the installation of street lights along all of the village roads and for the construction of road shoulders, sidewalks and retaining walls for the main road in the village and to the road leading to the Mohammad Al-Shami Girls’ School.

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