The time is so now… Never before in the history of humanity is there such a tremendous need to fund social change led by women and in support of women – Phil will tell you this…
And never before in the 15-year history of the Foundation for Women is there a greater need for you to join us in our mission to eliminate global and local poverty – which is the root of all that does not work in the world – and so affects women and children…
We are at a powerful moment in history: the window to eliminating poverty is open and the solution rests with each of us… From dear friend Jan Phillips’ latest book “No Ordinary Time” – It is not some accident that you are alive. You are here to help.
Many years ago when I personally experienced financial, spiritual and emotional poverty, I felt very called to reach out to others who might be experiencing the same thing – though showing up and suiting up as if all was totally fine… I wanted to find other women whose voices were not being heard despite their apparent circumstances – and do something to bring us together into community… That deep knowing led to the birthing of the Foundation for Women.
Until then I thought my life’s work as dear friend Jan Cetti knows was hospice work… But one evening with you Ed Law and others in a living room in Coronado changed all that – I learned that I personally could contribute to eliminating global poverty, something I had witnessed all over the world – and to helping give voice to so many women whose voices are not being heard – something I have known about intimately since childhood….
That evening led me to take a trip around the world by myself to see first-hand microcredit programs. My first stop was in Nepal where I visited my first program – the place where I met the woman who borrowed $4 to buy a comb, pair of scissors and mirror to put her husband in business as a barber. That experience changed my life forever…
I have been living and dreaming and supporting and creating and advocating microcredit ever since.
As many of you are our guests for the first time today, how many of you in the room know about microcredit?
For those of you unfamiliar, the global microcredit movement gives access to credit and education and business support to those living in poverty, dire poverty. We here in this room today are part of the 20% of the population that shares about 95% of the wealth while another 20% of our human family shares less than 1% of the wealth. This disparity is so not OK with me!
The Foundation for Women is a POWERFUL SOLUTION to ending this disparity by supporting women in creating income generating activities which can truly change their families’ circumstances – we have and are bringing hope to millions!
In 2007 Quita in Liberia borrowed $100 as a member of our FFW Liberia microcredit program to start a jewelry business. It grew and grew and today Quita is so successful that she is building a 2-bedroom house and her children are in school.
And more recently Mary – the Vice President of Liberia came out of his home recently and found Mary laying in the middle of the street in front him praying that someone would run over her to end her misery. The VP called our CEO Emily Guegbeh Peal and asked for help. Mary is now part of a thriving marketplace and making enough money to support herself and her children.
Here in the US microcredit works a little differently because the business environment is so different – but it does work! In addition to microloans, we provide education and business support to help women succeed. We have many success stories in the room with us today – Elsa, Yolanda, Nancy, Gabby, Tisha, Valatia… Hopefully you have bought their products and had a moment to speak with them about the difference working with the Foundation for Women has made for them, their families and their communities. Skill and passion are not enough – it takes the resources of money, education and business support to transform skill and passion into a ticket out of poverty…
Dear friend and supporter Ann Lovell and I just attended a women’s summit last weekend in NY where nearly 100 women – and a few good men – came together in support of our common commitment to raise unprecedented resources for the advancement of women and girls.
Because quoting from a recent UNICEF Report entitled: “Gender Equality: The Bigger Picture – women do 2/3 of the work in the world and produce more than half of the world’s food, but earn only 10% of the world’s income and own only 1% of its land.”
In our community here in San Diego, more than ¼ M women are living in poverty and nearly 80,000 of them are living in dire poverty. This is so not OK with me!
Microcredit is a PROVEN SOLUTION to ending poverty – and that is our work at the Foundation for Women. The energy is so different than handouts – we are standing next to women and families with support as our member Nancy Chavez and I discussed last Sunday when doing a TV interview together on KUSI – Nancy’s first time on TV was very empowering!
We are all one human family. In the words of Rosemary Brown, “Until all of us have made it, none of us have made it.”
We at the Foundation for Women have done good work for years – now it is time for great work to support all the women here in our community and around the globe – women who are so waiting for us so their voices can be heard.
In a moment I am going to ring a mindfulness bell. I invite you to take a moment to think about what it would mean to women here in our community and around the world, particularly in Liberia, if you stood up now and joined us in supporting them – if you truly connected with your human family so needing us all now… As Martin Luther King demonstrated, many of us joining together can create astonishing social change…
Please take this envelope at your seat and commit to being part of a new way of being – where all of us have enough! I dream it and so believe it is possible – and I so need you to join me and all of us at the Foundation for Women in making this dream a reality – together we can eliminate poverty…
Today we are joined by Joe and Debby McCloskey who have offered a challenge to us by donating a $50,000 matching grant as a match for every dollar that is contributed today thru next Friday via this envelope or online via our website – truly amazing, thank you both sincerely… So whatever you give now is immediately doubled – double the amount of loans, education and business support! Double the number of women for us to serve who choose a hand up rather than a hand out to move to self-sufficiency for themselves and their families.
Please be big now! Please be bold now! The fabulous women you are helping will come collect your commitments! I thank you from the bottom of my heart…