When K. Wayne Yang, an Ethnic Studies professor at UC San Diego, noticed his students’ interest in supporting Haitians in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, he did some research. He was looking for long-term, on-the-ground support for Haitians; fly-by rescue missions pushing personal agendas would not do. That’s when he found the Global Fund for Women.
“What really impresses me about Global Fund for Women is how you fund women on the ground who are empowered and empower other women,” he told us. “They are coming up with their own solutions.”
A Strong Sense of Social Justice
A former community organizer, Wayne has been involved in social justice work for many years. He founded a youth development nonprofit called the Avenues Project in Oakland and worked extensively on local urban education reform before moving to San Diego.
“I’m actually one of those people who avoid giving money to most international organizations,” Wayne confessed.
When he looks at international nonprofits, Wayne sees a lot of organizations raising money in the name of poor people but don’t actually direct funds to poor people. In his view, money went to people already in power, leaving unequal systems intact.
“You want to be able to support people whose work is long-term, whose work is on the ground, whose work is organic,” he says.
For him, many international nonprofits don't make the cut.
Like Father, Like Son
Wayne isn’t the only women’s rights advocate in his household. His four-year-old son, Junobi, made a gift to the Global Fund for his friend's birthday this year. Instead of gifts, Junobi's friend's family asked for donations to the kids' charities of choice. After looking at a long list of organizations and learning that the Global Fund grants money to women all over the world, the Global Fund became Junobi’s charity of choice.
Junobi has a strong sense of justice and is keenly aware of the inequalities in their San Diego community. He is particularly bothered by homelessness. He'll ask his father, “How are homeless people born?” He wants to know where they come from and if they have mothers and fathers like he does. He wants to know how people come to live in such extreme poverty.
Wayne is preparing his son and students for the day when they clearly see that what you do really can change the world for the better. He sees them looking for opportunities that “have the right spirit to them” – the same spirit he embodies as a father, teacher, and donor.