Although the origin of the slogan “think globally act locally” is contested, the notion of caring for the entire planet but acting within our own cities and communities has gained wide acceptance. Think globally act locally has become a truism. However, could the converse be true? Two local women have been exploring the concept of thinking locally and acting globally. Their exploration resulted in the founding of Global Grandmothers, a non-profit online community dedicated to linked giving.
Diana McDonough and I have been friends since our days on the Sonoma Valley Unified School District board; I as a board member and Diana as the district’s legal counsel. Diana lived in Mill Valley at that time and moved to Park City, Utah before relocating to Sonoma. Professionally our paths crisscrossed numerous times but in 2007 our friendship solidified when we became walking partners.
Diana had committed to one of the Susan G. Koman Walk for the Cure races in honor of a colleague diagnosed with breast cancer. While training for the sixty-mile, three-day walk, Diana shared her dream for saving the world. A dream sparked by her first grandchild’s birth. A 2009 New York Times Magazine article “Why Women’s Rights Are the Cause of Our Time” by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDann announced a contest where readers were asked to write about their efforts to address women and girls’ issues worldwide. Diana decided the time had come to take the theoretical to the practical.
According to Diana, “After my granddaughter was born I couldn’t believe how she captivated me – so perfect in each detail, so fragile and so promising! But I was bothered too, by how much she enjoyed when so many children in the world had so little. By accident of fate my granddaughter was born into a loving family in the world’s richest country while an equally deserving baby with loving parents was born into poverty and privation. How unfair the world seemed – and how little I was doing about it!”
While Diana and I walked and talked, it became clear that Global Grandmothers needed more than two well-intended women to move from concept to reality. Two additional colleagues and friends were gripped by the concept and the difficult work of birthing an organization began. Articles of Incorporation, by-laws, 501 (c) (3) tax status, a mission statement, website development, and the Global Grandmothers’ Pledge took over a year to complete. In January 2011 the website went live and Global Grandmothers was officially launched.
Global Grandmothers is based on the belief that the world’s children could benefit from the generosity of caring grandmothers. The idea is quite simple – give to a child in need each time you give to your own grandchild. The Global Grandmothers website has become a place where grandmothers, or other caring individuals, can register their commitment by taking the “Pledge” to linked giving. Although there is a nominal $5 fee for joining the community and taking the “Pledge,” Global Grandmothers does not raise funds for itself. Instead, the Global Grandmothers’ website facilitates giving by providing links to charities recommended because of their support for children. As stated on the Global Grandmothers’ website, “Children are one third of our population and ALL of our future.”
Today globalgrandmothers.org is a functioning non-profit with a growing membership proving that “thinking locally and acting globally” can also be an act of caring for our planet.