Celebrating our partnership with The Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation to transform girls' lives worldwide

By Rebecca Rubenstein | October 19, 2023 | Africa & The Middle East, Asia, Europe & Eurasia, The Americas | Gender Equity, Youth Empowerment

This past June marked the culmination of a seven-year Global Fund for Children initiative supported by The Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation. We have worked together to empower adolescent girls worldwide and increase their access to quality education. In this blog post, we look at some of the highlights from this bold and impactful partnership.

As Global Fund for Children approaches our 30th anniversary, we are celebrating some of our most transformational partnerships: partnerships that have fostered meaningful change and boldly supported children and young people. We share these experiences to inspire, to motivate, and to highlight what can be achieved when like-minded organizations work together to support children and young people.

The Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation (ELCCF) first started supporting GFC’s work in 2016. This partnership has enabled GFC to support 24 grassroots organizations in eight countries through the Promoting Equity and Opportunities for Girls initiative, reaching over 250,000 children.

One of the keys to the initiative’s success has been the powerful combination of both organizations’ strengths: ELCCF’s mission of promoting the wellbeing of girls and young women around the world and GFC’s expertise in supporting grassroots organizations that reach girls who are often left behind. ELCCF’s investment in our work expanded the reach of the initiative far beyond what we could have achieved without them, directly impacting the lives of girls and their families. Here’s what we’ve learned from this partnership:

Flexibility is key

ELCCF always responded openly and enthusiastically to the work that GFC proposed. ELCCF’s reliable and flexible commitment to GFC has allowed us to provide unwavering support to our grassroots partners, who have strengthened their organizations and achieved many milestones in responding to the educational challenges facing girls.

Thanks to ELCCF’s support, we were able to stand beside our partners and help them carry out their work when they faced obstacles such as a global pandemic, government restrictions, and war. As a result of the flexible nature of the partnership, GFC and our grassroots partners were able to pivot in order to safely and effectively respond to the greatest needs in local communities.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, organizations such as Youth Safety Awareness Initiative in Kenya, a 2021 winner of GFC’s Courage Awards, jumped into action. Though trained in community law, members of the Youth Safety Awareness Initiative team, along with about 200 community volunteers, deployed into local communities to dispel rumors about the pandemic and help limit the spread of the virus.

Youth Safety Awareness Initiative volunteers informing the community about the COVID-19 pandemic. © Youth Safety Awareness Initiative

More recently, when war broke out in Ukraine, ELCCF didn’t hesitate to generously invest in GFC’s emergency response. With their support and the support of other donors, GFC is helping a cohort of over 70 community-based partners who are providing Ukrainian children and youth with humanitarian aid, safe spaces, psychosocial support, education, and other much-needed assistance.

The importance of long-term partnerships

GFC prides itself on building long-term partnerships with funders around the world. These deep, multi-year partnerships foster a strong foundation of trust and enable both organizations to have a greater impact on children and young people. When ELCCF made a long-term commitment to GFC, for example, we were able to make long-term commitments to our grassroots partners and the children and young people they serve. As a result, our partners achieved more sustainable growth and a deeper impact on their communities.

APIC Utopía, a grassroots partner in Mexico that received grants through the ELCCF partnership, doubled the number of children and youth impacted by its programs, for example.

“The story of APIC Utopía can be told before and after GFC,” said Jesús Villalobos, the Executive Director of APIC Utopía. “GFC listened to us and walked with us. Not back, not forward, but shoulder to shoulder. We can say with complete certainty that they will always be part of us, that they will not go away, but that GFC will continue in each of the activities that we carry out.”

Children who participate in APIC Utopia programs practicing the martial art of Lima Lama.
Collaboration at the center

GFC has a 30-year track record of doing things differently. One of the ways we support grassroots organizations is by providing them with opportunities to connect and learn from each other. ELCCF’s support enabled us to bring grassroots organizations together annually to collaborate, expand their networks, and share their experiences.

After meeting through the ELCCF initiative, two partners based in South Africa – Nayanaya Trust and Xtreme Youth Projects – recognized their similarities and shared goals. They decided to hold a series of filmmaking workshops to bring awareness to social justice issues affecting young people. By working together, Nayanaya Trust and Xtreme Youth Projects created a program that neither organization had previously been able to achieve alone.

The GFC team, the initiative partners, and the young people we serve offer our heartfelt thanks to The Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation for your trust, generosity, and immense support. We are incredibly proud of the work that we have been able to accomplish and support through our partnership with The Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation.

Our collaboration exemplifies how corporations and nonprofits can work together to transform the lives of young people. If you are a funder interested in partnering with GFC to create a long-term, sustainable impact, please contact GFC’s Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Christine Burkhart

Header photo: During a sports class provided by APIC Utopía in Mexico, a young girl smiles for the camera. © GFC

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Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.

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