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RUGMARK USA AWARDED $440,000 BY SKOLL FOUNDATION

Washington, DC – March 18, 2005 – Rugmark USA announced today that it has won the 2005 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in the amount of $440,000.

Rugmark’s mission is to end illegal child labor in the handmade carpet industry and offer educational opportunities to children in India, Nepal, and Pakistan. The Skoll funding, which covers a three-year period, is for expanding U.S. consumer awareness about Rugmark-certified, child labor-free rugs. The project is expected to result in the rescue of thousands of South Asian children from forced labor and offer them the chance to go to school.

Rugmark is one of 13 organizations receiving $7.3 million from the Skoll Foundation through an open competitive process that identifies social entrepreneurs who have piloted innovative programs and are ready to take the next steps toward systemic social change. The awards will be presented on March 31st at the second annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University in England. Nina Smith, Rugmark USA’s Executive Director, will join other leaders in social entrepreneurship from around the world to set the future agenda for visionaries who want to transform society.

“It’s an incredible honor to be selected as a Skoll Foundation awardee,” said Smith. “The grant funds will enable us to reach consumers on a much broader scale and offer them the choice to purchase rugs that aren’t tainted by child exploitation and help to pay for education instead.” Smith believes Rugmark’s specific mission will also draw attention to broader human rights concerns in overseas manufacturing.

The Skoll Foundation’s mission is to advance systemic change benefiting communities around the world by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs, who are individuals dedicated to creating new solutions that result in lasting improvements to complex social problems.

“We have cast our net far and wide to find the world’s best social entrepreneurs,” said Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. “Rugmark is tackling a complex social problem in order to promote healthy, sustainable communities.”

About the Skoll Foundation
The Skoll Foundation was created in 1999 by Jeff Skoll, the first employee and first president of eBay. Its mission is to advance systemic change in communities around the world by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs, who are individuals dedicated to pioneering new solutions that result in lasting improvements to complex social problems. More information is available at www.skollfoundation.org.