In honor of International Women’s Day this week, we’re taking a moment to acknowledge our female partners and the many hats that they wear as founders, community leaders, educators, caregivers and more. Their incredible work opens up opportunities for all learners and uplifts us all. We know that this work isn’t easy.

The theme of this year's Women's Day:"Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress" is a reminder of the importance of addressing the systemic challenges and barriers that women face, and creating a more equal world for everyone. We are honored to fund solutions that create more opportunities for them, and to also support the women leaders who are at the forefront of these efforts.

In this blog post, we highlight some of the women leaders who are working to create a thriving future. This is just a small glimpse of the incredible leadership across our partnerships. To the women who lead, and those who walk alongside them: Thank you.

Atti Worku, African Visionary Fund

During Atti's longtime career in the social sector, she witnessed deep systemic problems that prevented local African leaders and organizations from securing necessary funding for their work. This inspired her to join and co-lead African Visionary Fund, which is focused on raising capital to accelerate local African visionaries.

Learn about our partnership with African Visionary Fund in our Q&A.
The more I opened my eyes, the more I saw that this is a collective pain for many organizations, and that there had to be a way that we could work on these implicit and explicit biases that make it impossible for local organizations to break through.
Atti Worku, Co-CEO, African Visionary Fund

Aparecida Suelaine Carneiro, Geledés Instituto

Suelaine’s firsthand experience of discrimination in the education system motivated her to become a feminist activist and coordinator of the Education Program at Geledés Instituto da Mulher Negra,where she defends women and the Black and Quilombola community against racism and gender discrimination.

Learn more about our partnership with Geledés.
We understand education as a human right, and it is the responsibility of the Brazilian State to guarantee and implement quality, anti-racist and anti-sexist public education.
Aparecida Suelaine Carneiro, Coordinator, Geledés Instituto

Fiona Wanjiku Moejes, Mawazo Institute

Dr. Moejes is the CEO of Mawazo Institute, a women-led think tank that supports early-career researchers and thought leaders find solutions to local and global challenges, including learning. With a deep background in research, Dr. Moejes previously led community-led research-based marine conservation projects, has an industry-based PhD in microalgal biotechnology, and is a proud Women for the Environment (WE) Africa Fellow.

Learn more about our partnership with Mawazo Institute.
I deeply believe that by embracing and supporting the immense diversity of our humanity—gender, ethnicity, experience, expertise and ideas—we will start to see real, lasting and impactful change in Africa and beyond.
Fiona Wanjiku Moejes, CEO, Mawazo Institute

Cida Bento, CEERT

A published author and expert in the field of diversity, Cida Bento was named one of the 50 most influential people in the world in her professional discipline by The Economist in 2015. She is an advisor at Centro de Estudos das Relações de Trabalho e Desigualdades (CEERT), which is focused on developing and implementing programs that promote racial and gender equity in public and private institutions, including education.

Learn more about our partnership with CEERT.
Data shows that [in Brazil] Black women are the largest number of unemployed or underemployed. We act so that HR processes can favor the entry, training and advancement of women, to prevent prejudice and discrimination...We work with mentoring, preparing women to hold higher positions.
Cida Bento, Executive Director, CEERT

Leah Austin, National Black Child Development Institute

Leah began her career as a school teacher in southeast DC, where she taught kindergarten and first grade. Today, Leah heads the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI), where she advocates for the wellbeing of Black children and their families. This year, she was selected as an honoree for the US Black Chambers Inc. Women of Power “Power 50.”

Learn more about our partnership with NBCDI.
Creating the future we want requires the wonder and curiosity of a child. We must imagine ourselves happy, thriving, and shaping the future…Our ancestors, grandparents, and parents all dreamed of our current future. We can dream beyond their dreams.
Leah Austin, CEO, NBCDI

Dr. Su Jin Jez, California Competes

Dr. Jez shared that her work to advance postsecondary education for people in her home state is “deeply personal.” The former first-generation college student today heads California Competes, which recently partnered with The Education Trust-West to form the California Alliance for Student Parent Success, a coalition dedicated to supporting the success and wellbeing of California’s college students raising children.

Learn more about our partnership with the California Alliance for Student Parent Success.
The benefits of higher education profoundly impacted my life. As a first-generation college student, woman of color, and daughter of an immigrant, California provided me the opportunity to grow as a person, scholar, and community member.
Dr. Su Jin Jez, CEO, California Competes

Women and Girls Deserve Better

In the geographies in which Imaginable Futures works, several data points illuminate what we know:

This is just a glimpse of a colossal systemic problem. And, these challenges fuel our motivation to keep imagining and fighting with our partners for a more equal world. We hope that this hard and yet necessary work will one day lead us to a future where every individual—women, children and men—feel empowered and supported to reach their dreams.

To the women who lead, and those who walk alongside them: Thank you.