Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Global Partnerships, in the Business of Hope

This past weekend, there were a couple of articles in The Seattle Times that caught my eye.

One was an editorial entitled, "Especially in hard times, we must invest in our women." This article espoused the idea that families and communities can be best helped through the women: "More than ever before, women are playing a critical role in protecting the well-being of our families and communities."

This immediately reminded me of one of my pet causes, Global Partnerships. And sure enough--the editorial was co-authored by Leanne Moss and Bill and Paula Clapp--the latter two being the founders of that very organization. Global Partnerships is a fabulous cause that works with women in rural Latin America, most of them indigenous, offering hope for self-sufficiency, self-esteem and equality through microcredit loans.

What first lured me in? That just $50 of mine can help a woman get on her feet, starting a business doing something she knows how: weaving, baking, sewing, retail ... She pays that loan off and the $50 goes to the next woman who has a skill she'd like to share to put a roof over her family's heads, or help see her kids get educated.

I saw a documentary, No Son Invisibles, during the Seattle International Latino Film Festival a few weeks' back that showed in amazing detail the kind of help and hope organizations like Global Partnerships can bring to a community. It all starts with one woman, and what we may consider pocket change. Then she's in business, working hard, and she's relatively successful--and it's contagious. The other women want to have that, too. They make a pact (peer lending) whereby in many cases no new loans are given until the first one is paid off, and the lendee is held accountable by her peers as well as by the lender. And then after paying off the first loan on time, she has an opportunity to borrow more to expand her business. And so on ...

So it's that time of year when I'd like to promote a very important event. It's the organization's annual fundraiser on Tuesday, October 20, 11:30am - 1:15pm at the Seattle Westin. Please consider attending the Global Partnerships Business of Hope Luncheon and learning about the wonderful ways this organization works to help the poor free themselves from poverty in Central and South America. I think they may in Mexico by now, as well. Here's a link to check out the event and learn more about the work Global Partnerships does.

The second article from the Times this past weekend was about how Global Partnerships and PATH are teaming up with Pro Mujer (Pro Woman) to bring health services to the same populations; as Global Partnerships CEO Rick Beckett points out, "poverty and poor health are inextricably linked." I'm sure this new partnership will be among the announcements they share with Business of Hope Luncheon attendees. I'll never forget the year they announced that my school, Seattle University, had invested a half-million dollars in their program. I can't tell you how proud I was to be affiliated with that school.

Events of past years have been wildly successful, and I'm really hoping this year is no different. The folks at Global Partnerships, like Chris Megargee, really show gratitude for their connections and donors. So, if you can afford to do it, go--and learn how so few American dollars can turn so many families around in rural Latin America.

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