Donor Interview: Maria Núñez

Last year 6,000 donors fueled Global Fund for Women’s vital work around the world. Maria Núñez, a donor since 2009, talks about what inspires her passion for our work.

How did you first get involved with Global Fund for Women?

My commitment to invest in women and girls came from a surprising place. When I was watching the movie “Slum Dog Millionaire,” I realized that that little girl in the movie could have been me. It could have been any of us. Yet I have been able to realize my full potential, when so many other women and girls don’t get that chance. I realized I wanted to devote my resources to help every little girl fulfill her potential. I was still trying to determine how to most effectively achieve my goal when I heard a presentation about the Global Fund for Women at a retreat. I knew immediately that I wanted to be involved with this organization. What Global Fund does and how it does it i.e. its values really spoke to me. I was so inspired, I called from the airport on the way home and I gave my first gift of $10,000.

What is unique about Global Fund for Women?

Its knowledge and experience. Global Fund has 25 years of being connected to women at the grass-roots, both directly and through its global network of advisors. It is also well connected to other funders and stakeholders in the space. That experience allows it to take a broad view of the global women’s movement and to know the best ways to move women’s rights forward. Global Fund is uniquely positioned to find and connect groups that have the potential to create lasting social change. It has the track-record and confidence to be bold and to take risks.

Photo by Elaine Martyn

What impact have you seen from your donations?

I visited Turkey with the Global Fund for Women and saw the impact first hand. I was able to attend the AWID (Association for Women’s Rights in Development) meeting and to visit grantee partners. The trip connected me to the whole global movement for women’s human rights. I got a real appreciation of the breadth of the projects that Global Funds supports – from organizations working on sexual and reproductive rights to economic empowerment groups. I was able to see Global Fund’s values at work--for example, how it builds, empowers, and respects the groups and women it supports on the ground. At the AWID conference, I was able to see the key role Global Fund for Women plays in the women’s rights movement.

Becoming a donor has been transformative for me personally as well. Through the Global Fund and the amazing people and organizations the Global Fund connected me to, I have learned so much, I have grown as a person and as a philanthropist, and I have been able to significantly leverage my individual financial contributions. I have found my place in the movement and I am now able to give so much more than money. I have been inspired and I have been able to inspire others.

What makes you excited about Global Fund’s future direction?

I am excited about the increased focus on Voice – that is the awareness-raising and advocacy work. It is a very significant evolution and something I feel passionate about. Global Fund needs to leverage its knowledge, networks, and sense of the pulse on the ground, and amplify them to the maximum. Being an advocate and a voice for the global women’s movement is an enormous role. I also think a lot of strength will come from Global Fund narrowing its focus areas. It gives Global Fund the chance to be a big player and stay at the forefront of critical issues. I want to see a Global Fund that stays relevant and becomes more nimble and modern – it’s an important time to create long lasting changes, and to support the women and girls on the ground to make it happen. The recent changes allow Global Fund to pick up and run with that charge.

What would you say to someone thinking about becoming a donor to the Global Fund?

Global Fund for Women is so much more than a grant-maker. It models what it means to create transformation – among grantee partners, among global audiences, and among donors. If you believe in long-lasting change for women and girls, and through them, for the world, and if the Global Fund’s values resonate with you, the time is now. Get involved, be bold, give big, apply a gender lens in everything you do. You are in for the ride of your life. I have made the largest investment of my life with Global Fund for Women, and I have no regrets.