The Women’s Giving Circle (“WGC”) is a collective of women supporting women. Since our inception, The Global Good Fund has aimed to level the playing field for the world’s brightest leaders; helping their ideas become the reality we strive for: a more equitable and just society. WGC members pledge their time, expertise and capital to lift up the female entrepreneurs within our global community.
2021 has been a busy year for our innovators. Despite many challenges, they have continued challenging the status quo to expand the realm of possibilities in pursuit of a better society.
Only half way through the year, our network of female leaders have accomplished so much, and we look forward to following along as they continue to break down barriers and create a better world. Their dedication to profit and purpose is what the world needs now more than ever. Let’s take a look at some of the impact these entrepreneurs have created.
Solstice, led by Steph Speirs, closed a $3.1 million funding round to offer affordable and inclusive renewable energy to households across the U.S. The clean energy industry is poised to experience exponential growth in 2021 as demand for climate solutions surge from governments, corporations, and civil society. Solstice is one of the only companies in the solar industry co-founded and led by women of color.
Steph also spoke out in this Inc article on how she used to ignore racist and sexist comments, but why she doesn’t tolerate it now. Steph commented “if we stay in silence, we stay in our silos. If we voice our experience and look for commonalities between other marginalized, under-resourced communities, then that is the pathway out of this.”
Christelle Kwizera won the 2020 Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award. She received news of this honor during the virtual Global Citizen Prize ceremony via a surprise message by singer-songwriter Nick Jonas! The young Rwandan, founder of Water Access Rwanda, is an engineer and entrepreneur who has developed a sustainable way to provide struggling communities in Africa with clean water.
Christelle spoke out in this New Times article about the benefits of paid internships, and her concerns about unpaid internships.
She was also highlighted in this Forbes article. Christelle is on a mission to improve lives in Rwanda by using boreholes and purified water microgrids to provide over 100,000 people access to clean water. This is especially important right now, as the COVID-19 pandemic shed light on the lack of hand washing facilities in rural areas.
Rags2Riches (R2R) has partnered with IKEA’s first-ever store in the Philippines, set to open in a few months, as the Swedish brand’s official sewing partner. Ikea wants to make a difference in the lives of highly skilled women artisans under the wing of R2R, founded by Reese Ruiz-Fernandez, which will have its own space in the Pasay City outpost for customized textiles.
Reese was highlighted in this Phil Star Global article that discussed ways to be more sustainable in your fashion choices. Read the article to learn how Reese is helping the world become more sustainable, and learn some new tips for yourself as well!
On Mother’s Day Manila Bulletin asked various mothers and mentors what values they want to teach their children. Reese Fernandez Ruiz identified empathy as the most important characteristic for leaders. Rags2Riches provides fair pay to Filipino women who recycle waste textiles collected from garbage dumps into high-end handbags.
Consult Your Community (CYC), co-founded by Krion Chandy has partnered with WorldDate.AI to empower Small Business of America with data insights to improve their performance. CYC is a nonprofit where students from top universities provide small business owners the tools to succeed. WorldData.AI will be empowering volunteer consultants with relevant external datasets to drive insights for small businesses.
Sehat Kahani, co-founded by Dr. Iffat Zafar Aga, has raised $1 million in a Pre-Series A round. This is the first time that a healthtech, female-led company in Pakistan has raised a Pre-Series A round, and also the biggest round by any female-led company across the country. Sehat Kahani has witnessed 5x growth in the last 12 months, with 5,000 doctors and over 350,000 consultations on its platform.
Mary Ackley was paid a visit by President Joe Biden. Biden dropped by Little Wild Things Farm as part of a visit to small DC businesses that have benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program. Mary says her seven-person operation, which pivoted from supplying restaurants to a new delivery “salad share” program during the pandemic, would not have survived without PPP.
Mary was also featured in this ABC7 segment discussing how her organization, Little Wild Things Farm, pivoted and found success throughout the COVID19 pandemic. In June 2020, Mary lost 90% of her business in one week, and was forced to redesign. She started a microgreens home delivery model and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Planet Abled, founded by Neha Arora, was a recipient of Travel + Leisure’s Global Vision Award. This award aims to identify and honor companies, individuals, destinations, and organizations taking strides to develop more sustainable and responsible travel products, practices, and experiences. Planet Abled was among three honorees in the business of expanding horizons, not just literally.
In April, Autumn Abeigbo was featured in this article. She reflects on her journey and how far her company has come. Autumn Abeigbo Fashion announced a new collection of footwear and handbags for the Fall/Winter 2021. She also announced a partnership with Anthropologie which will help fund the General Scholarship Fund at Spelman College.
Autumn launched her Spring/Summer collection and hosted a Virtual Trunk show with GGF this month where 20% of the proceeds were donated to GGF. This Instyle article highlights Autumn’s “hard to get” hair accessories.
Jessica Johnson was highlighted in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for the impact her Scholarship Academy has on low-income students in Georgia by creating funding strategies. The pandemic has made attending higher education even more difficult for some, leading to a drop in enrollment last year. Jessica Johnson’s Scholarship Academy continues to help as many students as possible.
The pandemic has exacerbated the economic divide and disproportionately hurt businesses run by women and people of color. This article features Street Entrepreneurs, founded by Juliana Cardona Mejia, as one of the players in the DC area taking steps to close that divide. Street Entrepreneurs connects entrepreneurs to human, social and economic capital via workshops, talent exchanges, and showcases, in addition to providing Wifi stipends, transportation, and child care.
Move This World, founded by Sara Potler LaHayne, presented at the Future of Behavioral and Mental Health startup showcase this past year. In this article, Sara Potler LaHayne discusses the importance of playing an active role in children’s education. Move This World is a social emotional learning program that provides PreK-12 educators and students with video tools to strengthen their wellbeing in order to create healthy environments where effective teaching and learning can occur.
Sara had big news in June as her company Move This World is partnering with Sparkler Learning to launch their “Big Heart World” initiative. This BusinessWire article explains how the partnership and Big Heart World will promote free emotional development resources to young students.
Brittany Déjean is founder and executive director of AbleThrive, a social enterprise featuring a one-stop platform of curated and customized resources for living well with a disability. This month, AbleThrive and United Spinal Associated combined their resources to make it easier for people with spinal cord injuries and disorders to find the resources they need online. Read more about the merge in this Cision article.
This past May, Rebecca Hui was highlighted in The Cu as one of 8 Women “Making Waves.” Rebecca’s enterprise, Roots Studio, digitizes thousands of endangered art from tribal communities into an online library for royalty licensing. This month, Cultured interviewed Rebecca about Roots Studio and how it combats cultural appropriation and exploitation.
Washington City Paper released an article, “DC Public Schools Begins Drug Testing Contractors and Volunteers For Marijuana” this month. Daniela Grigioni, Executive Director of After School All Stars DC, comments on the new policy. Grigioni “worries that drug testing will be inefficient.” After School All Stars offers programs on topics such as robotics and cooking, but also on career mentoring. This new policy is discriminatory and will make hiring more difficult as testing can be unreliable and take a long time.
Nidhi Pant of Science For Society was a panelist for the The Circulars Accelerator – Innovation Showcase 2021 on June 24th. The event showcased all the panelists and all they have accomplished throughout their journey. Science For Society is a food preservation company that converts farm losses into value-added products by intervention of sustainable solar technology.