Post written by Adam Creighton, Development Director
In 2013, I began working at InStove, a small, grassroots, international development nonprofit in Cottage Grove. As Director of Development, it was my job to raise funds, recruit volunteers, and write grants. What I found in Oregon was a state that punches above its weight in nonprofit terms, with a philanthropic culture of political, spiritual, and social giving, sophisticated donors, and a high level of volunteerism. (Oregon is ranked in the top half nationally for both giving and volunteering).
I studied in the Ford Institute Rural Leadership Program, and had InStove join the Nonprofit Association of Oregon. For three years, InStove attended the excellent Nonprofit Leadership Conference and meetings of the Emerald Valley Development Professionals.
But, while sessions on “cultivating major donors” and “board development” were of general interest, it was clear that Oregon lacked support for the unique needs of small, international nonprofits. Absent were sessions on:
-Integrating small, focused nonprofit programming with larger humanitarian efforts (and funding)
-Participating in bids for USAID, DFID or other development funding opportunities,
-Which foundations to approach (in Oregon or beyond) for support of international WASH, energy, shelter, clean cookstove, or gender projects.
In 2015, I first heard rumors about the plan by Green Empowerment to launch a resource-sharing, collaborative, membership network (in the style of Global Washington) for International Nonprofits in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. I immediately knew how powerful this opportunity was. Since GlobalPDX formally launched at the 2017 Elevating Impact Summit (where InStove and OSU won the Elevating Impact award)
I have thrown the weight of InStove behind it. I refer new partners to GlobalPDX, share opportunities with fellow members, and most importantly, InStove hosts HEARTH, the Household Energy and Renewable Technologies for Humanity conference. This family and camping friendly conference occurs every August (in 2017, from the 17th to the 20th), as a collaboration between many GlobalPDX members. It brings international development professionals together to build community, share lessons, build capacity, and create connections.
GlobalPDX is an opportunity for our community to be greater than the sum of its parts. And InStove is excited, through opportunities like HEARTH, to add value to this talented, dedicated, and above all, resourceful community who, through their investments of time, talent, and treasure, help make Oregon (and the Pac NW) such a special place to be, and be from. I hope you’ll join us at GlobalPDX, and at HEARTH, to find your tribe.
GlobalPDX launched into being on Monday, February 13 at Portland State University’s Elevating Impact Summit. Evan Thomas, GlobalPDX Director and Associate Professor of Engineering and Public Health at PSU, introduced the organization as a resource for individuals, businesses, non-profits, and academia working across Oregon in international development.
GlobalPDX currently has more than 60 individual and organizational members, and continues to build on its momentum by developing partnerships and opportunities aimed at nurturing synergies, improving practices and magnifying the impact of our community. To become a member of GlobalPDX visit the website to complete the new member form.
GlobalPDX is working with the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health to develop a global health certificate, and we need your input. We have created a brief survey to gather information that will help to inform the development of this program. The survey should take ten minutes or less, and one respondent will be selected at random to win a $50 Amazon gift card.
We are grateful for your input and ask that you share the survey with anyone who might be interested in a global health certificate.
The University of Oregon has announced a seed grant for its faculty to partner with GlobalPDX members to draft funding proposals for collaborative research projects. To be clear, the grants do not cover the research projects, they provide resources to assist in the drafting of the proposal for funding. The university’s announcement is available here. We are grateful to the University of Oregon for its effort to connect researchers with practitioners across the state.
If you are a GlobalPDX member, and would like to be considered as a partner organization, but have not already signaled your interest, you can complete this registration form.
While traveling throughout India in 2005, Sudara founder and CEO, Shannon Keith, heard stories of sex trafficking and witnessed women being forced to sell their bodies in order to feed their families. She returned home from that trip and was compelled to create an organization that would make a lasting impact for women and their families. Shannon formed a small team of family and friends and, together, they looked for India-based groups that were seeking ways to have a positive impact and help women looking for a way out of the Red Light Districts. The team knew that safe, steady and living-wage employment would be a pathway to freedom and offer choices for women and their families.
Over 10 years later, Sudara is a thriving benefit corporation and lifestyle brand with a mission that is still rooted in job development for women in India who are at the highest risk or survivors of sex trafficking. More than a give-back model, Sudara enables women to have choices for themselves and for their families. We are working for deep change and believe this is done through hand-ups, not hand-outs. Purchases of Sudara goods and clothing support training and jobs for the women who make the products, and fund investments in a non-profit arm of Sudara that provides for those same women across their entire ecosystem and supports sustainable pathways to freedom.
Sudara’s signature product — Punjammies — is a collection of loungewear that features prints inspired by and named after a woman who makes the product as part of Sudara’s job development programs. One of the most recent stories that is inspiring us is Kala’s story.
Most of the women in Kala’s family are sex workers. She tried to hide this fact when she was at school. She didn’t want the other students to make fun of her and she wanted to do something else when she graduated. As the oldest daughter, though, everyone assumed that she would one day enter the sex trade and help take care of her younger siblings.
That one day came after Kala completed the 10th grade. Her mother’s illness was getting progressively worse until she became bedridden and could no longer work. Her family, in need of income, forced her into the sex trade too. Several months later, a few representatives from a Sudara partner center were in Kala’s village talking about the skills training programs and raising awareness about traffickers. Kala heard their message and asked for help. She saw this opportunity as her only way out.
Kala is now living in safe housing through a Sudara partner center and receiving tutoring in computer skills and spoken English. She said that when she came to the center she was very withdrawn from activities and nervous, but the staff and center “gave me confidence and communication skills along with dignity and meaning to my life.” She was recently accepted into college and will begin those studies next year.
This story and many like it are made possible only through thoughtful, outcome-driven design and strategic partnerships. Far beyond a single donation or gift, empowering women to make a life of their own choosing has ripple effects and positive implications that span the generations of an entire family. This is the type of impact that Sudara cares about and strives for the most – sustainable impact that empowers women, breaks cycles of poverty and ends sex trafficking once and for all.