An Oak Park nonprofit has been awarded a $750,000 grant from Jack Dorsey’s #StartSmall initiative. Dorsey is the founder of the microblogging platform Twitter.
The nonprofit, Women’s Global Education Project, partners with groups in Senegal and Kenya to “to provide every girl, no matter her background or where she is from, the chance at an education,” according to a statement released last month.
During a recent interview, the nonprofit’s founder, Amy Maglio, said the grant is the largest the organization has received at one time. The funding is unrestricted, so Women’s Global can use it as they fit.
“This grant gives us the opportunity to dream and think about where we want to go and how we sustain the work to set ourselves up to be there for communities in need,” Maglio said.
She added that it will also allow the nonprofit to respond to the COVID-19-related needs of the young women they serve.
“With the pandemic, more girls are out of school now than ever before in the communities where we work,” Maglio said. “And with markets closed and jobs nonexistent, a lot of families have been sending their daughters to work as maids to bring in some income, so now we’re working hard to identify those girls and to get them back in school.”
Dorsey’s grant is the latest milestone in a series for Women’s Global. In 2019, the nonprofit’s work caught the eye of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Girls Opportunity Alliance, which produced a short film called “Rebecca’s Story,” which highlighted the work of Women’s Global.
Last year, Dorsey announced that he had transferred $1 billion of his net worth to #StartSmall in order to fund global COVID-19 relief efforts, women’s wellness and education, and toward promoting Universal Basic Income.
“Through our network, we found someone we knew who had a connection to Twitter and we were able to submit a two-page proposal through this online portal and then we waited five months,” Maglio recalled.
“We then got an email saying they’d like to talk to us, and we had about an hour-long phone call with a Dorsey representative and by the end of the call, he said they would grant us the full amount we had requested,” she said.
Maglio said the nonprofit is currently holding team meetings with staff in Senegal and Kenya to figure out how to expand their activities to more girls on the continent.