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Global Fund for Women
History and Background

History and founders:

The Global Fund for Women was established in 1987 by Anne Firth Murray, the Global Fund''''s founding president and first CEO. Along with co-founders Frances Kissling and Laura Lederer, she was determined to address the lack of funding available to women activists worldwide with the creation of a global foundation dedicated to their support. Dame Nita Barrow, former governor general of Barbados, and a leading figure in the global women''''s movement was the fourth founding member of the Global Fund. In September 1996, Murray retired and was succeeded by Kavita N. Ramdas.

Anne Firth Murray, Founding President

Anne Firth Murray , a New Zealand born woman who had made a career working for American foundations, founded the Global Fund in 1987 and served as its president until she retired in 1996. She is now a consulting professor in the Human Biology Program at Stanford University. Anne also serves as a consultant on civil society and other issues to many foundations and is on numerous boards and councils of nonprofit organizations. In 2006 she published Paradigm Found, Murray''''s personal story and a handbook for fostering social change. Here, she reflects on her experience with the Global Fund.

"I''''m a person who had a dream and was lucky enough to make that dream a reality—a dream of a worldwide network of women who would be both givers and receivers. A dream of an organization that would be open, curious, inclusive and trusting. A generous organization, that would work evenhandedly with women''''s groups around the world, with donors and volunteers, with staff and with others who joined our path.

I came to believe in my nine years creating the Global Fund that it is vital to transform the world by changing the way people treat each other, and by modeling that kind of change behavior ourselves. We can count the achievement—the number of grants and donors, the amount of money raised—but I truly believe that the way we have done our work has been as important as what we have done."

Frances Kissling, Co-Founder

Frances Kissling is now president of Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC), an independent nonprofit organization that is engaged in research, policy analysis, education and advocacy on issues of gender equality and reproductive health. Working in the Catholic social justice tradition, CFFC is affiliated with Catholic Organizations for Renewal and the Women-Church Convergence, both based in the United States, and with the European Network/Church on the Move.

Laura Lederer, Co-Founder

Laura Lederer is now the director of the Center on Speech, Equality and Harm, a national law institute formed in 1992 to examine the constitutional significance of harmful speech, as well as to encourage research, debate, and dialogue among scholars, social scientists, community leaders and individuals concerned with both the protection of freedom of speech and the detrimental effects of harmful speech. It also addresses commercial sexual exploitation on a worldwide basis, focusing in particular on legal interventions.

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