U.S. Regulations Update
Greetingsfrom the Global Fund for Women. We are writing to share with you adetailed update on how the current political and legal environmentwithin the United States has affected the Global Fund's ability to makegrants to support and advance women's rights around the world. Webelieve it is important for us to be open and transparent with all ourgrantee partners so that you can fully understand the context andconstraints within which we must now operate.
Asyou know, the Global Fund is an independent international women'sfoundation based in the United States that provides funding to women'srights groups in 160 countries. In our 17-year history the Global Fundhas awarded over $38 million in grants to over 2,600 organizations. Ourgrantmaking philosophy is based on respect and trust, which we extendto our grantees and to the donors who support our work. We do notaccept government funding, either from the US or any other government.In the past, this has ensured a certain independence in our ability tosupport groups based on their merit and their programs that enablewomen to advance their rights in innovative and creative ways.
Sincethe attacks on the United States in September 2001, however, thedomestic environment in which the Global Fund for Women functions hasbecome increasingly challenging. Here in the U.S., there has been asubstantial increase in scrutiny and oversight by the U.S. governmentof foundations such as the Global Fund that provide funds to groupsoutside the U.S.
Inits efforts to prevent charitable funds from being used to support"terrorism," which it has yet to clearly define, the U.S. governmenthas enacted new laws and regulations severely prohibiting andpenalizing any U.S. foundation that provides support to groups orindividuals on the U.S. government's "terrorist" list (specifically,the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list), which can be found on the Internet. The penalties for providing a grant to a group orindividual on this list can range from the foundation having its assetsfrozen, to losing non-profit status, to criminal penalties.
Inorder to avoid such penalties, the U.S. government is asking that allU.S. foundations that provide funds to groups or individuals outsidethe U.S. voluntarily choose to check the names of its granteeorganizations and the organization's key staff against this so-called"terrorist" list.
Weare deeply concerned about these actions that seem to us to limit andconstrain important social justice efforts both in the United Statesand around the world. Yet, at the same time, we are aware that hundredsof women's groups around the world count on the Global Fund for ongoingfinancial support. Those funds have become even more critical in aninternational environment where resources for women's rights haveshrunk as they have been diverted to fight wars and combat terrorism.We believe that in this challenging environment, it is extremelyimportant that the Global Fund continue to support women's human rightswork, and we do not want to jeopardize our ability to do this.Therefore, after considerable reflection, the Global Fund has decidedthat for now we will check this list as recommended in an effort tosafeguard our joint work and to ensure that the majority of women'sgroups continue to have access to our grants.
Inthe spirit of transparency, the Global Fund for Women is informing allgrantees and applicants that we have chosen to implement thislist-checking requirement as part of our grant review process. Pleasebe assured that the Global Fund is not required to report any apparentmatches that may arise, and that in our efforts to safeguard ourcollaborative work all organizational information will remainconfidential.In addition, please know that the Global Fund is also working on asimultaneous strategy of public education and advocacy in collaborationwith other like-minded international foundations to challenge andoverturn these laws and regulations that have such a chilling effect oninternational grantmaking. This has included awarding a grant insupport of a project entitled "Strengthening Philanthropy in the Age ofTerrorism." The aim of the project is to educate the U.S. government tothe role that philanthropy plays in promoting social justice andthereby addressing the roots of terrorism.
Werecognize that many of you may have concerns or questions about thissituation and we welcome your input. We also hope for your support andunderstanding about our sharing with you this difficult decision. Finally,we wish to reiterate our commitment to the international women'smovement and the framework of international human rights that guidesour work.
Kavita N. Ramdas Dale Needles
President & CEO Chief Operations Officer