“Philanthropy can be a lot of fun,” Gates answered. “And it works at every scale, both resources and volunteer time.” The pandemic has exacerbated inequality in every dimension, he added — racial inequality, gender inequality, wealth inequality, and the inequality between rich nations and poor ones. “That should call forth more generosity and empathy, particularly from rich countries and office workers,” he said. “So I’d like to see philanthropy go up, not just in dollars but also all the office workers participating in various causes to help out those who’ve been less fortunate.”
VILLANOVA, Pa., Oct. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Villanova University has announced an interdisciplinary initiative aimed at examining the issues of poverty and inequality and their intersection. The initiative was spurred by a $1 million gift from Paul A. Tufano, Esq., ’83 VSB, ’86 CWSL and Christine Tufano ’84 CLAS, ’86 MA, for enhanced thought leadership and research across the University to address poverty and inequality. Paul Tufano, a former Chair of Villanova’s Board of Trustees, is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the AmeriHealth Caritas Family of Companies—one of the nation’s leading Medicaid managed care organizations, headquartered in Philadelphia.
“Paul and Christine personify the very best of Villanova—people who have achieved extraordinary personal and professional success, and have used that success to serve others,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President. “While the nation’s eyes rightly now are more keenly focused on poverty and inequality, Paul and Christine’s focus was there all along. The Tufanos’ gift is fueling Villanova’s longstanding commitment to these issues – derived from our patron saint, St. Thomas of Villanova, known for his great charity to the poor and marginalized – to ignite meaningful, positive change.”
Said Paul Tufano: “This multi-faceted initiative has been in development for some time and the events of 2020 have only underscored the need to address longstanding inequities that continue to plague our nation. From a public health crisis with economic ripple effects that have disproportionately impacted the working poor, to an overdue national reckoning on racism and racial disparities, we need public policy solutions and we need them now. This is a pivotal time in our nation’s history. Christine and I want to raise the public consciousness and, working with Villanova, help to identify and create momentum for innovative solutions.”
Tufano has urged others to consider supporting the initiative, as an effective way to drive meaningful change in poverty and inequality at this important hour.
“The millions of people living in poverty in America did not choose to be poor, nor did Black Americans, communities of color, and people with disabilities and differences choose to face discrimination and systemic disparities. Our Constitution says, ‘We the People,’ but we know we have more work to do to ensure that ‘We the People’ includes everyone, with no asterisk and no one left out or left behind,” added Mr. Tufano. “Everyone deserves the opportunity to live their own version of the American Dream and this large-scale, university-wide effort will study and innovate at the root causes that have kept that dream out of reach for too many Americans and for too long.”
As a result of the Tufanos’ gift, Villanova has already created a fellowship position and named Stephanie Sena as the inaugural fellow. A long-time adjunct professor at the University, Sena is also the founder and executive director of the Student-Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia (SREHUP), a non-profit anti-poverty initiative involving college students, who help to provide shelter, food, housing, and community to individuals experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia. Sena has taught as an adjunct professor in the Department of History and the Center for Peace and Justice Education at Villanova for 17 years, including a course on the History of Homelessness.
Housed within the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, this interdisciplinary initiative will support programmatic efforts to generate concrete ideas and policy solutions to address the systemic issues of inequality, which in many cases intersect with, exacerbate or lead to poverty. It will approach the causes and effects of these issues with an interdisciplinary, evidence-based method that prioritizes efforts that will yield concrete results and maximum advancement toward eliminating the structures of inequality that contribute to poverty. The initiative will also include an annual symposium – convening thought leaders to explore the issues of poverty and inequality – focused on identifying the most promising approaches to eradicating poverty and eliminating disparities associated with race, disability and difference.
In addition to planning the annual symposium, Sena will engage in research and writing on issues of poverty and inequality and will teach courses in poverty law and policy and other related topics. She will also work to generate proposals to fund interdisciplinary empirical research that will support data-driven analysis of public policy challenges related to poverty and inequality.
“When we discuss poverty, inequality must be part of the conversation,” said Mark C. Alexander, JD, the Arthur J. Kania Dean of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. “Villanova students, faculty and alumni continue to show a passion for the many issues surrounding poverty and inequality, so I can think of no better place to further examine this important topic than at Villanova. I would like to thank Paul and Christine for this important gift, which will build upon the many great programs already in place at the University to address these issues.”
This initiative adds to the University’s commitment to examining and addressing issues of poverty and inequality through academics and service. At the Charles Widger School of Law, clinics such as the Federal Tax Clinic and Farmworker Legal Aid Clinic provide legal services to people who cannot afford them. Several members of the faculty have focused areas of scholarship on issues of poverty law, and Villanova Law has a number of courses that address the legal structures, which support or dismantle inequality.
The Villanova campus has long been a place where issues of poverty and inequality are examined. The University’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is continuing to develop programs addressing issues of inequality, including a new initiative called, Living Race—Transforming Community, providing opportunities for workshops and campus dialogue. Faculty and students regularly examine the issues of poverty and inequality through coursework—from “Global Poverty & Justice” and “History of Homelessness” to “Epidemiological Approaches to Health Care and Health Disparities.” The University is also a longtime partner of Habitat for Humanity, with students, faculty and staff helping build houses for those in need. Additionally, Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week originated at Villanova in 1975 under the guidance of the late Father Ray Jackson, OSA, and in the years since has expanded to more than 500 campuses and communities nationwide.
Mr. Tufano was a member of the University’s Board of Trustees for 11 years and was its Chair from 2015-2017. He has also served as President of the Villanova University Alumni Association and as a member of Villanova’s Campaign Executive Committee and the Board of Consulters for the University’s Charles Widger School of Law. He received the St. Thomas of Villanova Medal in 2001—the highest honor bestowed by the Villanova University Alumni Association.
“We are extremely grateful to Paul and Christine for their generosity and continued commitment to Villanova University,” said Michael J. O’Neill, Senior Vice President for University Advancement. “The University’s dedication to examining and addressing the many issues surrounding inequality and poverty are well documented and this initiative will further those efforts in a profound way.”
About Villanova University:Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University’s six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit www.villanova.edu.
Executive Director, Media Relations
SOURCE Villanova University
WARSAW, Poland, Oct. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Kulczyk Foundation, a Polish private family foundation, and Founders Pledge, a community of entrepreneurs committed to finding and funding solutions to global challenges, have launched a new report on period poverty. A bloody problem: period poverty, why we need to end it and how to do it – which reviews the current state of funding and solutions to ending period poverty – finds that there is no unified approach to data collection, fundraising or implementation of period poverty programmes.
The report is part of a new commitment from Dominika Kulczyk, a philanthropist and the richest Polish woman, who provided funding for the report as part of her search for the most efficient and cost-effective programmes addressing period poverty globally. In her efforts to unite the philanthropic resources to fight period poverty, Dominika Kulczyk joins Founders Pledge and their group of individual philanthropists and family foundations coming together to inform and inspire the next generation of philanthropists – The Foundry. This group of visionary donors supports Founders Pledge’s mission to direct philanthropic dollars towards the most effective charities and organisations around the world.
Period poverty has been an invisible issue for years, despite an estimated 1.9 billion girls and women currently menstruating. Menstruation stigmatised is often and invisible, contributing to millions of girls and women worldwide not having what they need to manage their menstrual hygiene, ultimately missing out on education, job opportunities and life quality.
The report reveals the scale and burden of the problem globally, the harms caused by a lack of access to sanitary products, and the effectiveness of activities to tackle period poverty. The report estimates that total current spending on period poverty worldwide is between $10 and $100 million per year – suggesting this is a hugely underfunded issue when comparing it to the total donations to charitable causes which annually are approximately $449.64 billion in the US, and £10 billion in the UK alone.
A bloody problem: period poverty, why we need to end it and how to do it offers a unique perspective on the state of period poverty, but most importantly draws attention to the most cost-effective programmes around the world.
Dominika Kulczyk, Founder and President of the Kulczyk Foundation said,
“Access to complete menstrual health and hygiene is a basic human right. Without it, women and girls cannot pursue full lives with dignity and confidence. It is deeply unfair that girls in all parts of the world miss out on better education, and women on work, because they were too poor to have a period.
“We have neglected this issue for too long, and I’m proud to have worked with Founders Pledge to take the first step towards understanding how we can make the biggest impact, quickly. What’s clear, is the need to unite the international community on global standards for reducing period poverty, and better fund those programmes that deliver the highest impact for women and girls who every month have to choose between a meal or a sanitary pad.
“I invite the international community to join me and work together to end period poverty.”
The report recommends greater focus on building a strong evidence base, and investment into eight organisations currently committed to delivering effective interventions. It identifies 80 organisations addressing period poverty, with eight organisations demonstrating the most cost-effective practice.
Eight organisations which are listed as the most cost-effective when it comes to ending period poverty, and which stood out across factors such as a solid theory of change, high quality evidence generation, and organisational strength, are:
● Days for Girls, headquartered in the US with offices in Uganda, Nepal, Ghana, and Guatemala
● Inua Dada Foundation, headquartered and operating in Kenya
● Irise International, UK and Uganda based
● NFCC, headquartered and operating in Nepal
● Population Services International, headquartered in the US, Europe, and Kenya
● Sesame Workshop’s Girl Talk program in Zimbabwe, headquartered in the US
● Simavi, headquartered in the Netherlands with operations across Africa and Asia
● WoMena, headquartered in Denmark and Uganda
David Goldberg, Co-Founder and CEO of Founders Pledge said,
“One of the most important steps in addressing the lack of complete Menstrual Health and Hygiene globally is finding the most effective solutions through rigorous research, and identifying the organisations implementing high-impact interventions. This report takes valuable steps in that direction and I hope it will help donors and governments tackle this issue with a clearer understanding of what barriers must be overcome.
“Founders Pledge is thrilled to team up with Dominika Kulczyk and her foundation to boost the impact of philanthropists working to beat period poverty. Her work and support for women-led projects is a great example of her leadership and philanthropic abilities in Eastern Europe.
“I would like to encourage philanthropists to come together and support Dominika’s movement, especially now that we have a better understanding of the effectiveness of the programmes in this space. With a unified and coordinated approach, I believe we can end period poverty.”
Marni Sommer, Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University,who contributed to the report said,
“There has been remarkable growing attention to addressing the menstruation-related needsof girls, women and all people with periods around the world in recent years, however thereremains a long way to go. The social and economic impact of COVID-19 also threatens toreverse progress made to address period poverty, along with ongoing stigma around menstruation that hinders girls’ and women’s equal and successful engagement in education, work and society.
“The Kulczyk Foundation’s important review and investment in menstrual health and hygiene not only supports critical efforts to address these issues, but serves as a clarion call to donorsand governments that there is much left to do, and collective efforts and resources areneeded for rigorous, impactful action going forward.”
Polish philanthropist and businesswoman
SOURCE Kulczyk Foundation
Zarina says both men and women need to understand they have a valuable role to play in the world. (Source: PR handout)
For many years now, Zarina Screwvala — co-founder of Swades Foundation — has been working for the upliftment of rural life in the country, especially that of women and children. Through her foundation — that works to empower lives by covering four key areas, namely health and nutrition, education, water and sanitation, and economic development — she and her husband Ronnie Screwvala have been striving to make a difference at the grassroots, by teaming up with full-time staff members and community volunteers, to cover 2500-plus villages in the country.
On the occasion of International Day of Rural Women, Zarina interacted with indianexpress.com to highlight key problems plaguing our villages, its women and young girls, and how empowering them can bring about economic stability in the country, among other things.
You have been engaged in philanthropy for so many years now — what are some of the biggest issues you have observed trouble the rural population of the country, especially women?
We believe in and work for empowered village communities, allowing all members to live a life of dignity. All means all: women, men, children, youth and the elderly. We believe the work must be sustainable and scalable; but change happens one village at a time. At our foundation, we all work for one dream — to create a model of rural empowerment that can lift a million people out of poverty every five years. An almost impossible dream, but one we deeply believe in and work for every day.
We also observed poverty is not just material but also mental, manifesting as a lack of hope, aspiration for a better life for themselves and their families. This mental poverty is a critical blockage to any kind of change, resulting in forced migration to ill-equip cities where their conditions are perhaps worse than in the village.
Wealth in the hands of women ensures not just economic stability to the family, but it also ensures that children complete education. A woman’s role in uplifting her family is not appreciated. She may be doing the work in the fields, looking after the buffaloes and cows, walking miles for water, but she has no idea of her own worth and nor do the others in the family.
One of our planned Dream Villages @WeAreSwades -in Poladpur block Raighad -where our school was totally damaged post cyclone and entire village got together to re build it brick by brick – Their Dream Their Village – and thanks to the District Admin for sanctioning grants pic.twitter.com/jP3jw2Su7u
— Ronnie Screwvala (@RonnieScrewvala) October 1, 2020
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What are the pre-conditions for the betterment, development and empowerment of rural women?
At Swades, we believe every life is valuable and has something to contribute. And that barriers to overall development, especially that of girls and women, are not that obvious to most. You have to know your community, love and respect them before they open out to you. And this is what we have done for 20 years and more — especially in the last six years. And the learnings have been rich and varied:
Women can only earn a living if they have water in/near their house. When we first went to our villages, we wanted to work on girls’ schooling. The villagers laughed and said their daughters had to fetch water for almost two hours a day. We decided to work on water. It was life-changing; the girls started going to school. Women started growing a second crop, started poultry, goat rearing, dairy, stitching and a host of micro-businesses.
Every woman must have a toilet in her home. When we first started going to our villages 20 years ago, we met women who went to the loo in the open fields before sunrise and then after sunset! They got bitten by snakes, developed kidney issues and urinary tract infections. Girls did not attend secondary school, because there was no safe place for them to go to the loo. By building 23,813 toilets, we have been able to protect women from rural Raigad.
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Victory over Water Crisis, Nandvi Adiswasiwadi situated in the hilly regions of Mangaon Block in Raigad, The uphill slope from the bore well to the village made it tougher to haul water-filled pots and water was unfit for drinking. @swadesfoundation provided Tap connections linked all the houses with the storage tank ensuring water availability. Installation of water filter ensured the provision of safe and potable water to all the houses.
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Women must attend village meetings. When we first entered our villages only men attended community meetings; within two years we had equal numbers of men and women. Their regular attendance has empowered the village committees. Tribal women from Dharechiwadi, Poladpur, banned the sale and purchase of illegal alcohol in their village. They recognised alcohol menace as the biggest problem in their village’s development.
Empowered women are the best change agents. “Because women can manage poverty, they can manage development best” — this is what Sir Fazle Hasan Abed told Ronnie and me when we visited him and his amazing organisation BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee). I was starstruck and asked for a picture with him!
Rural or urban, women in our country have to struggle with basic rights, safety and dignity in the society…
We are a patriarchal society. And thousands of years of societal thought is hard to change. It’s the mental attitude that needs to change. In the villages we serve in rural Maharashtra, we see a lot of hope, we see families struggle to enable their girls to go to school. As soon as water comes to their villages, the girls are in school.
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Sustainable livelihood is substantial. We circulate New Orchard Saplings- in mango, in Cashew every year to our rural community in 7 blocks of #Raigad Over the last 5-6 years, we have distributed 8 LAC saplings for strengthening Livelihood. This makes an Annual Recurring income for them and makes them self-reliant.
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What have been your personal struggles vis-a-vis your foundation and the humanitarian work you do?
I have been fortunate that my struggles are related to my own deficiencies, not because I’m a woman. I come from a supportive family and have a supportive husband. I think right from day one, my parents never made me feel less valued, my school principal (Shirin Darasha of J.B. Petit Girls High School) was an inspirational firebrand and made us all feel valued.
Can you explain the structure of Swades Foundation?
Swades nurtures our dream of uplifting one million rural lives out of poverty every five years. We implement a 360 degree holistic model of rural development which addresses four key needs of rural communities: water and sanitation, health, education and livelihoods. These lay the foundations for strong and self-sustaining rural communities.
Community members are empowered to make their own village development plans and Swades facilitates the interventions. We ensure community participation by small contributions or through shramdaan (voluntary labour). This, along with strong village development committees, is our approach to ensure sustainability once we exit the villages.
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We are promoting azolla and hydrophnics for green fodder to our farmers engaged in dairy. Green fodder reduces intake of concentrate feeds which in turn increases milk productivity and profitability in dairy business. Here are pics from one of the training session.
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We believe true impact is not just in numbers but also when we are able to remove the mental poverty and change it to a can-do attitude.
Our strength is 90 per cent of our full-time staff of 270 people, who work directly at the grassroots. Another 1,000 are community volunteers making us a strong execution foundation impacting over 5.5 lakh population today in 2500+ villages.
How big of a support is your husband in all your social and humanitarian endeavours?
He is not a mere support, he is working with me and our fabulous team of 1,300 people, to make our impossible dream come true!
As equal partners, what can men do to make life easier for women?
Both men and women could begin by understanding that we each have a valuable role, a place in the world. We need to create a space to blossom. We are equal but different. Respecting this, we can make everyone’s life better.
Any advice for the women in our country who are reading this?
Believe in yourself, in your own self-worth and dignity. We have much to bring to the world. Find out your role and be that. Don’t let anyone stop you. I also recommend being like water that is a force no one can stop. If we are hard and stone-like we can be stopped in our journey. But water always flows. A river always finds its way to the ocean.
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Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK), the technology firm behind the Cardano (ADA) cryptocurrency, has joined forces with the United Nations (UN) to launch a hackathon challenge, according to its Oct. 6 blog post.
It has set up a $10,000 fund to sponsor those Cardano-based projects that would make the UN’s sustainable development goals more approachable.
A more ambitious 15-year-push
Established back in 1945, the UN is on the verge of celebrating its 75th anniversary later this October.
Back in September 2015, the world’s largest humanitarian announced its new agenda for sustainable development.
It contains 17 main targets that include tackling poverty, hunger, avoiding wasting water, fixing gender inequality and providing education.
The previous 15-year agenda that was signed by world leaders back in September 2000 produced some impressive results, reducing the number of people that live in extreme poverty by over 1 bln individuals.
$10,000 worth of ADA up for grabs
In order to incentivize participants, IOHK is offering $10,000 worth of ADA to developers.
Only those projects that are written in Marlowe, a new language for developing financial instruments on the Cardano blockchain, can qualify for the hackathon. They will be judged by their technical merit as well as their social impact:
The winning ideas will be able to seek the advice of experts from both the UN and IOHK to ensure that they are implemented in the most impactful way.
IOHK is accepting new submissions until Oct. 19. All winners will be announced on Oct. 24, the day the UN was created.