A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats – “Black Panther” and Philanthropy

The success of the beautiful new film, Black Panther, has many storylines.

For one, it’s the most successful opening weekend for a movie directed by an African-American. It’s also the first superhero movie to feature a predominantly African-American cast.

It’s also both visually and narratively a beautiful multifaceted film. While it may be part of the Marvel Universe and at its most basic level, a “Superhero Movie”, thanks to its detailed storyline and complex characters, it’s certainly much more than that. It might seem bizarre to write a Global Grandmothers blog about a movie such as this but there is a nexus between the storyline and the Global Grandmothers’ mission.

One of the most intriguing plot points is the internal struggle the fictional nation of Wakanda (the Black Panther’s native country) faces on its position on foreign aid. Unbeknownst to the rest of the world, Wakanda is a very wealthy and technologically advanced nation due to its access to massive amounts of Vibranium (a fictional valuable natural resource). Over centuries, the Wakandans have maintained their luxurious way of life by avoiding any international entanglements.

T’Challa, AKA the Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman

Despite their national prosperity, there’s pressure bubbling up within Wakanda to support humanitarian causes around the world. But naturally, many oppose this reform, as it will lead to the secret of their riches to be revealed to the rest of the world, and, in turn, potentially affect their way of life.

Much of the movie revolves around the debate on this issue and the difficult decision that T’Challa (the King of Wakanda and the Black Panther) faces. What responsibility do fortunate citizens of one nation have to support those in another? Particularly, when those in other nations may be suffering humanitarian crises, conflict, and/or war.

Writer and Director Ryan Coogler wonderfully navigates the nuances of this prescient issue. This plotline can be seen as a commentary on global politics on one hand, but also appears to address the proper role of philanthropy among wealthier nations.

‘Black Panther’ Writer and Director, Ryan Coogler

We here at Global Grandmothers do our best to recognize how fortunate many of us are, and with this awareness, comes a responsibility to work with others around the world who are in need. This sentiment is why we support organizations like Save the Children, who work to ensure children all around the globe have a healthy start in life. Or Partners in Health, who are committed to providing healthcare to poor and marginalized communities around the globe.

Check out all the organizations we support here

The international community is only strengthened when the less fortunate around the globe are supported by those who can.  

While the phrase ‘A rising tide lifts all boats’ has often referred to domestic policies, it’s also an apt term for international development. As the world’s tide is lifted, so too are all the world’s boats.  It’s fantastic to see this powerful message showcased in a movie that so many young adults and families are bound to see.

#GivingTuesday is 11/28 – Double Your Impact!

#GivingTuesday is November 28th this year.  Facebook and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have generously offered to match up to $2 million of funds raised for US nonprofits through Facebook’s charitable giving tools. Donations will be matched up to $50,000 per nonprofit, with a max of $1,000 per donation, until the $2 million in matching funds run out.  Donate here by clicking on the blue ‘Donate’ button on our page.

Is the matching campaign time sensitive?

Somewhat! The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match up to $2 million across all of Facebook.  So, once this number is hit, the matching campaign will conclude. The campaign starts at 5 AM PST, 8 AM EST, 11/28 – so don’t sleep in too late!

What does this mean for you and Global Grandmothers?

If you donate $10, Global Grandmothers will receive $20.
If you donate $50, Global Grandmothers will receive $100…and so on.

How will my donation be used?

Global Grandmothers will allocate 100% of the donations it receives on #GivingTuesday to our recommended nonprofits.  All donations will be evenly divided among the 9 nonprofits we recommend, all who’ve passed our rigorous vetting process.

Are there any fees for the donation?

Nope! Facebook is generously covering all fees for donations on #GivingTuesday. Every dollar you give will be doubled and go directly to Global Grandmothers.

How do I donate through Facebook’s charitable giving tools?

It’s easy! Just head to our Facebook page and click the blue ‘Donate’ button on the top right of the page. Simply follow the prompt to complete the transaction and you’re done!


Happy Giving!


Fighting for Literacy in Guatemala’s Highlands – Interview with Child Aid’s CEO, Nancy Press

Global Grandmothers President, Diana McDonough sat down with the CEO of Child Aid, Nancy Press, to get a sense of a non-profit which embraces the same values you do, and with your help, is putting them to work for kids.  

Diana interviewed Nancy in her Portland, Oregon office on August 29, 2017.  Child Aid is a Global Grandmothers recommended non-profit.


What does Child Aid do and where does it do it? 

We work in 71 schools – soon to be 100 – in Guatemala’s indigenous Central Highlands, helping thousands of children learn to read. Each school partners with us for a 4 year period. The teachers train in our Reading for Life program and the school receives a library.

I understand you are Child Aid’s co-founder. How did you get started doing this?

I was trained as a cultural anthropologist at Duke so I’ve long been interested in other cultures. Professionally I pursued this interest with post-doctoral grants from the National Institute of Health and others.

In the early 1990’s on a visit to Guatemala for an intensive training in Spanish, I visited public schools operating on a shoestring and met indigenous students with little chance for self-improvement. I had been wanting to do something to honor my father, a deep believer in education and a prime influence in my life who had died prematurely. In his memory, my husband and I decided to begin Child Aid, an educational program for Guatemala’s schools which we hoped would offer real opportunity.

What is unique about the students you teach?

In the indigenous highlands, the typical home language is of ancient Mayan origin — Kichée, Kaqchikel, or T’ztujil — all languages that are not written. Often school is the first place a student sees written language, or hears Spanish.

The government of Guatemala provides little training for primary school teachers and any innovations they develop rarely make it out to the indigenous highlands where Child Aid works. No surprise – more than 60% of the indigenous population is illiterate. Only 4 of 10 students reach the 6th grade. There is a subsistence economy. Life is hard and short. Parents pick coffee berries to earn a living, carry firewood on their backs, and send their children to school hoping to prepare them for something better.

What do the schools you serve need?

In school after school, there are very few textbooks or books of any kind. Often there is not even a piece of paper or whiteboard where words can be written. Typically teachers have a seventh-grade reading level. We wanted to change this, but in a way that made the change welcomed, useful, and replicable.

What does your program offer?

We work with schools where the leadership (superintendent, principal, etc.) want our training for their staff. 

Then we mutually commit to a partnership of 4 years. Our model relies on training and in-class practice. Each school receives two rounds of the following each year:

  • Day-long workshop for all teacher
  • Follow-up demonstration in each teacher’s class with a lesson taught by the Child Aid trainer to model the techniques
  • Second follow-up demonstration in each teacher’s class with a lesson taught by the teacher-in-training using the new techniques

The school also receives a library with books at the beginning of the 4-year partnership. The library is expanded each year so that by the end of the 4 year period there is an average of 7 books per student in the library.

Who leads your training?

We have 25 paid staff in Guatemala. Twenty-three of these are Guatemalan indigenous people themselves and they lead the trainings.

Are you seeing results?

Yes!  We just finished a case-control, independent evaluation which showed that students in Child Aid schools made 65% more progress in reading comprehension in one school year than similar students in non-Child Aid schools. We were very pleased.

How can we help?

Our program takes resources. Any donation you can make will help us change the lives of our wonderful Guatemalan students. Click here to learn more.