Meet Our Supporters

The Global Fund for Women's model of social change philanthropy challenges and overturns traditional notions of philanthropy. Instead of relying on a single funding source or the contributions of one individual, the Global Fund for Women brings together over 20,000 people and institutions in a network that pools resources and shares a passion for advancing women's rights. We believe that philanthropy is a shared responsibility and an opportunity for each of us to give and to receive as we seek to realize our vision of a better world.

Group of GFW fans at Vanderbilt University

Our status as an organization that fundraises its entire budget every year keeps us grounded in the same challenges our own grantee partners face in funding their work. We confront similar obstacles to mobilizing and securing resources to fuel our work and theirs.

Our supporters make it possible for us to continue to advance women’s human rights around the world. We thank them for their vital role as advocates and donors.

If you are interested in learning more about making an individual contribution, please contact Camille Matson at (415) 248-4800, or send her an email.

If you are an institutional donor and would like to learn more about giving a grant to or partnering with the Global Fund for Women, please contact Amelia Wu at (415) 248-4800, or send her an email.

Father, Teacher, Donor

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Photo courtesy of K. Wayne Yang.

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.

 

Watch for the Swinging Pendulum

Stephen Lewis listened as 25 United Nations representatives talked about their interventions on the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Two hours passed and not once did he hear the word “woman.”

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Photo by Gillian Mathurin, courtesy of The Stephen Lewis Foundation.

It was at that conference table in Mozambique that Stephen, then UN Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Africa, had a revelation: he’d long believed that the single most important struggle on the planet was the struggle for gender equality, but he realized that gender inequality was making HIV impossible to defeat.

“The marginalization of 50 percent of the world’s people absolutely subverts, sabotages, and violates every principle of social justice and every principle of equality,” said Stephen.

A Generosity of Spirit

During his time with the UN, he noted an unnerving pattern of UN agencies leaving women out of the conversation. He was aggravated by the failure of UN agencies to collectively respond in a timely manner to atrocities, such as the sexual carnage in the Congo. However, he drew great inspiration from African women.

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Photo courtesy of The Stephen Lewis Foundation.

“What inspires me then and what inspires me now, is the tremendous resilience and strength on the ground in Africa, particularly amongst the women,” Stephen reflected. “There is such intelligence, such sophistication, such human decency, such generosity of spirit in the response of Africa’s women to HIV.”

Diminish Funds, Damage Women

While Stephen witnesses the invaluable impact of courageous women, he also sees strong ties between money and equality. He knows what happens when there is no money for women’s organizations.

“If you’re starving organizations whose primary mandate is to ease or save the lives of women, you are directly damaging women,” he said.

Stephen counts on organizations like Global Fund for Women to support projects that are vital in the struggle for women’s rights.

“Global Fund for Women has integrity, has principle, can be relied on, and is deeply committed to women’s rights and women’s causes. It’s a damn shame that they don’t have more money to distribute,” said Stephen.

A Self-Proclaimed Feminist

A self-proclaimed feminist, Stephen credits three women as his inspirations: his wife and feminist activist, Michele Landsberg, his AIDS-Free World co-director, Paula Donovan, and cherished friend and “force of nature,” Eve Ensler.

Stephen is a Canadian whose international work began by accident. Politically, he was a social democrat who was ultimately appointed to the UN by a strong social conservative. His role allowed him to see the various United Nations agencies up-close. One of those agencies was UNICEF, where he was later named deputy executive director.

In 2001, Kofi Annan asked Stephen to take on a new role: UN Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Africa. There, he worked with a determined group of activists, one of whom was Paula Donovan. Paula was intimately familiar with the pandemic and when Stephen left the UN in 2006, the two decided to co-found, and now co-direct, AIDS-Free World.

Don’t Give Up!

In addition to his primary focus, co-directing AIDS-Free World, and sitting on the board of the foundation that bears his name, he teaches a course at Ryerson University in Toronto where he tries to impart the following wisdom on young activists:

“Don’t give up! Don’t be pummeled into submission by conventional wisdom! Don’t capitulate because men have the power and do stupid things with it. The most important thing for men to do is to respect the rights of women. As hopeless as it seems at times, if women can somehow manage to grit their teeth and keep on fighting, eventually the pendulum will swing. It takes a lot of time and it’s incredibly frustrating, but if you keep at it, you can achieve great things.”

 

Building Real Progress

When Kenneth Wun graduated from UC Berkeley in 1996, about half of his class was made up of women. He enjoys discussions with friends about global gender equality, and he will be the first to tell you that having a female boss is not a novelty anymore.

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Photo courtesy of Kenneth Wun.

Did Kenneth expect his future to look so bright? Of course he did. His mother made sure of it.

Breaking Stereotypes

He can still hear his mother telling him and his brother that there are, “no such things as women’s chores.” From a young age, Kenneth learned how to take care of himself and respect men and women equally.

“She was always breaking down stereotypes,” remembered Kenneth. “She really set the course for me.”

Now, breaking stereotypes and talking about causes he cares about is Kenneth’s job. As the Special Assistant to the Chairman of California’s Democratic Party, he fights for candidates who share his values.

Open Your Eyes

When he’s not working, he’s hanging out with his friends at Spark, an organization near and dear to Global Fund for Women. Spark, like Kenneth, seeks to build a community of young, global citizens who are invested in changing patterns of inequality that impact women throughout the world.

“It’s important to open your eyes to struggles people are going through and see the challenges they face,” said Kenneth, who sits on Spark’s advisory board. “The world is not perfect, but at least we can make their choices less daunting and more fair. We can help people achieve what they need to do in life.”

Even though Kenneth grew up in a progressive household, works for the Democratic Party, and lives in liberal San Francisco, why does he still prioritize fighting for gender equality?

“Gender equality is a fundamental human right. It should not be seen as someone else’s problem…It’s important to be open, aware, and make changes. That’s real social progress.”

 

Around the World and Back Again

Mary Ripley spent 18 months traveling the world with her mother via boat, train, car and rickshaw. She camped under a brightly colored tent in the Cairo desert. She saw Everest from her hotel room in Darjeeling. She felt a sense of overwhelming peace while watching Gandhi weave a basket.

Read more »
 

Vendor Partners

We appreciate the generous support of the following businesses, who have chosen to donate a portion of their sales to the Global Fund for Women.

 
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