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!


From The Great Depression to Hurricane Irma – Interview with Save the Children’s Courtney Nields: How the Organization Serves Others in Need

As part of our vetting process, we value interviews with members of the Organizations we recommend. Interviews give us important qualitative data that may not be evident from the Charity Watchdog sites.  We wanted to check in with Save the Children to hear about recent activities and to give a first-hand account of their founding, history, and relevant timely updates.  To do so, Global Grandmothers Treasurer, Mary Bevernick, interviewed Courtney Nields, Manager – Community Engagement & Fundraising, of Save the Children and got a fresh understanding of its unique mission.  

Courtney Nields, Manager – Community Engagement & Fundraising, Save the Children

Q.  How did you get started with Save the Children?

I wanted to explore working at an organization that makes a difference – and luckily, I live close to the Save the Children Northeast headquarters here in Connecticut. I started as a volunteer and this eventually lead to full-time employment working with our wonderful fundraisers who turn their passions into contributions to Save the Children. I consider it a privilege to work for this organization, and to help support our important work here in the U.S. and around the globe.

Q.  Can you share some history of Save the Children?

Yes. Save the Children was founded in England by Eglantyne Jebba prominent British female social reformer, teacher, and activist, in 1919.  The purpose was to help German and Austrian children after WWI – the children of the British enemy.

An extraordinary woman, she championed many national and international causes on behalf of children. In 1924, the League of Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which was authored and promoted by Eglantyne Jebb – and became the main inspiration for the U.N.’s 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Save the Children Founder, Eglantyne Jebb

In response to the depression, by 1932 Save the Children was serving children in Kentucky with school supplies, clothing, and hot lunches. Save the Children has grown in response to children’s needs caused by natural and man-made disasters throughout its existence.  It has attracted the support of Eleanor Roosevelt and many notables. Today, our board is chaired by Dr. Jill Biden – a long time advocate for children and an educator.

Q. Today, what does Save the Children do and where are you helping children?

We are currently serving 157 million children in 120 countries all over the world, including the U.S.  We serve the most vulnerable and marginalized children worldwide.  At Save the Children, we put children first in everything we do – every day, in times of crisis and for our future. We want to make sure that children are healthy, protected, and educated. Please visit our website for specific information. www.savethechildren.org

Q.  These must be busy times for Save the Children. Is it hard to deal with multiple crises at one time?

Of course, it is difficult but we are prepared to respond to need where and when it occurs – that is what we do! We mobilize to address each disaster conducting immediate assessments of the situation working with local partners.  For example, we are working closely with American Red Cross and FEMA to support children affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.  We assign our on-staff experts to lead the response and then, with the funds we raise for each emergency we hire local experts.

Q.  What do you provide in emergency situations? What special programs do you develop?

This is a difficult question to answer since there is no “formula” for emergencies. If we use Hurricane Harvey as an example, here is how we approach it. We immediately do an assessment on the ground and coordinate with FEMA, Red Cross, and others to offer our child-based expertise. We generally find that among other needs, there is a need to set up our Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) program, which we do in shelter spaces and wherever people are gathering. We did so for Harvey victims.

In the CFS we provide a refuge for children from the chaos. We offer tranquility, a bright happy place with volunteers working with children, giving parents time and energy to make plans, apply for aid, clean up, and rebuild. The CFS concept is special to Save the Children.  We are viewed by our Emergency partners like the Red Cross and FEMA, to be the experts when it comes to children – and we are known for this around the globe

Q.  What proportion of your revenues do you spend on emergencies?

Twenty percent according to our 2016 Annual Review. The rest goes to on-going programs.

Q. Who staffs all those programs?

We have over 1000 on-staff employees in the USA including child program managers, researchers, Head Start program staff, and Fundraising and Administrative roles. We have headquarters in the USA with Washington, DC (Capitol Hill area) focused on program work and advocacy, Fairfield County, CT our home office for over 50 years, and Lexington, KY near our US Head Start Programs for administrative reporting. For ongoing programs, we employ local and international staff. Our staff is a combination of “emergency experts” and local paid staff and volunteers.

Q. Don’t some emergency programs end up lasting for years? How do you sustain the effort?

They do. And we are prepared for the long haul. For instance, in Puerto Rico, we expect to be providing psycho-social services for a long time. Fortunately, emergencies like earthquakes and hurricanes produce a tremendous U.S. donation response. Those donations are essential to help us continue our work.

Q. How do you prioritize need in emergencies?

We have to categorize needs. We have devised four basic categories: (1) Extraordinary, (2) Large, (3) Medium, (4) Small. Within those categories, we rate many factors such as the number of children affected, geographic scale, evolution, displacement. We need to determine likely needs as we gather information on the ground. Of course, we revisit our assessments as we learn more information. All emergency situations are complicated and unique.

Q. How much capital is required to run Save the Children? From what sources does the funding come?

Save the Children USA has grown to be a large organization. Annually our revenue is close to $700M with almost 50% of our revenue sourced from the US Government – we run Head Start Education programs in over 15 states. We also receive a sizable amount from international organizations like the UN. The remainder, (40%) is from private sources like individuals, corporations, and foundations.

Q. What percentage of your funding goes to administrative costs?

We keep our administrative costs as low as possible. Currently, 86.5% goes to programs while 13.5% of our budget goes to administrative costs. We put children first. We want to make sure that children make it to age 5 at least. We know that if a child can make it to age five, there is a very good chance for survival. Education, protection from harm and a healthy start are our key aims.