In an effort to develop new approaches to social and environmental issues through business and social sector partnerships, Richard founded Virgin Unite, the not-for-profit foundation of the Virgin Group. In September 2006, Richard committed that future proceeds to the Virgin Group's transportation interests will be invested into renewable energy initiatives, representing an estimated investment of $3 billion over the next ten years. Richard also announced a $25 million prize for a viable technology that will result in the net removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases. Recently, he joined Nelson Mandela, Graҫa Machel, and Desmond Tutu to form The Elders, a group of independent leaders that will seek sustainable solutions to global humanitarian issues. In December 2007, Richard was recognized by UNCA as Citizen of the Year.