Happy International Women’s Day! Today we are going to celebrate women, women from around the world that are deeply engaged in philanthropic activities. Oprah might come to mind, or Melinda Gates, Ellen DeGeneres (she rocks with her daily charitable gives on her show), Mother Theresa, or Susan Buffet. But there are millions of women who have less of a public profile and are doing a world of good all over the world. Some of these women started their organizations with one give, every day. Their one give gained traction and soon others were following, multiplying their gives until a formalized charity was born. These women have not appeared on the cover of Time Magazine, nor have many of them received media attention. But they did receive the attention of our friends at the Pollination Project. And us at 365give.
The Pollination Project makes daily seed grants to inspiring social change-makers who are committed to a world that works for all. For five years they have funded a different project every single day. They have become a learning laboratory for emergent Indy Philanthropy trends and practices. 365give has thankfully been one of the receiving end of a Pollination Project Grant, and they continue to support our mission. I could not have thought of a better organization to help me pick out a list of philanthropic women who have created impact through their programs.
With the help of a global network of grantees and community partners, the Pollination Project identifies extraordinary grassroots leaders who would not likely qualify for funding from other foundations or institutions. What successful grantees do find after the receive their first Pollination grant, others follow suit, with personal donations and other foundations supporting the work these grassroots organizations do.
Being philanthropic starts with one give that identifies a community need. Read about these extraordinary women who are filling needs around the world.
Danielle “Doxie” Kaltz started her organization with one give. “This was never an initially organized program, Doxie just had some extra things and put them in the back of her car and stopped on the way to work and talked to the guys and gave them the goods. Then more people started giving Doxie things to give away. I have known Doxie to literally give her own boots off her feet to a homeless person in need.” This first give gave birth to a wonderful organization called Burners Without Borders (BWB). It is a grassroots, volunteer-driven, community leadership organization whose goal is to unlock the creativity of local communities to solve problems that bring about meaningful change. Real problems that use real solutions. Doxie has used her innovation to inspire others to create similar projects, like that of her backpack gifts to the homeless in Detroit, where community individuals and groups find and fill a need in their community. She has given her time to help volunteers organize and identity social needs in their communities and execute solutions. Check out local and international projects on their site. Community volunteers have used the innovative principles of Burners without Borders to help communities in Nicaragua, US, Canada, Africa and and India.
Aneri Patel is an Indian American social entrepreneur who is creating more access to clean energy and clean water in developing countries. She launched a micro finance enterprise that works with Community Based Organizations in Uganda and India to support green technologies at the community level.
After earning a Masters Degree in Environment and Development, Aneri began volunteering in rural India. She joined the Auroville Village Action Group (AVAG), a community based organization in Tamil Nadu, which wanted to start an enterprise that would retail solar lights, energy saving bulbs, water filters, and improved cookstoves. The locals were aware of these products, but had no opportunities to purchase them, even though there was a market need as the villages faced chronic blackouts, used wood for cooking, and did not have access to safe drinking water. With Aneri’s help, AVAG decided to launch a nonprofit business venture that has resulted in 7000 products being distributed in the past three years.
From that experience, Aneri founded ENVenture, a volunteer student-run group born out of the Fletcher school at Tufts University. They created a locally run enterprise in rural Maharashtra in India in order to increase access to low cost, low carbon technologies that advance the health, sanitation and the overall living standards while avoiding environmental damage. They have continued and expanded their ventures to include CBO microloans, training, and innovative technology to sustain the important role these CBO’s perform in their communities.
Five years ago, Doniece Sandoval gained a new perspective on San Francisco’s immense problem of homelessness. It happened in her own neighborhood. “There were three elderly gentlemen, all in their 80s, who we watched, one by one, get evicted,” she said. “They began to live in their cars, had their cars repossessed, and ended up on the street.” Though the United Nation and World Health Organization defines access to water and sanitation as a basic human right, homeless people throughout the U.S. and around the globe often go without. Doniece is doing something about this problem. To make access to water and sanitation more readily available, Doniece created Lava Mae, a sustainable mobile shower and sanitation service for the homeless using up-cycled and remodeled buses. Since her first Pollination Projection grant back in 2013, Lava Mae ha expanded their critical services – delivered with an unexpected level of care they call Radical Hospitality – to rekindle dignity and hope for people experiencing homelessness through their Mobile Hygiene Service, Pop-Up Care Villages and buildIt toolkit.
Beth Koigi was born in Kiambu, Kirenga village in Kenya, knew all too well the dangers of unsafe drinking water. When studying community development at the university she began her research into water borne diseases. After learning that in Kenya 56% of the population do not have access to clean water, that 80% of all diagnosed diseases are waterborne, and that access to clean water was impossible for many women in Kenyan communities, Beth felt compelled to bring her education, passion, and skills to bear on the problem, and started Aqua Clean Initiative, an organization that provides under-served communities in Kenya with affordable filters. Beth developed a filter which cost less than a third of others available. Her early designs were a hit, and provided many families with clean water. However, Beth knew she could innovate further, and recently developed a new type of filter which provides even better results and is much easier to use. Aqua Clean, uses a micro-finance model to help women’s groups purchase the filters.
Adrina saw a need in her community in Colombia and acted on it. She has since created Hábitat Sur’s BiblioVan and Little Public Libraries a traveling van that provides a safe space for kids in the Colombian Amazon to explore culture while reading, watching movies, playing, painting, attending artistic and educational workshops and just being kids. She has since expanded the program to include the police volunteers, using her community library to build important bridges between local police and young children and added a volunteer-cation option in the Amazon where volunteers help build sustainable housing and community projects. Find out more about her projects at Habitat Sur.
We think a high 5 donation would be great. Each website has a donation page where you can give $5 to their programs and initiatives. These women have proven their leadership in the global communities they work with and in. The Pollination Project has got them started with their daily giving, and now it is up to us to continue to support their dedication and energy given to communities that benefit from their leadership, empathy, and innovation. If you would rather volunteer, reach out to them. If you would rather support the Pollination Project knowing that they are finding, supporting and following through with community based programs, you can support their efforts. If you added a $5 donation to each of these organizations in your daily gives, you have five gives completed toward your 365gives of the year! Easy no?
Do you have a give that uncovered a need in your community that you wish to develop? Contact the Pollination Project and let them know what you are doing. Innovation and community based projects are their specialty and your program just might fit the bill. We know how useful our grant was from the Pollination Project to get 365give into communities. We are living proof that a daily give can turn into a global movement that builds healthier, more sustainable, and happier communities. And these community organizations led by women have had an incredible impact in their communities!
Happy International Women’s Day! Together we can all make a difference.