Giving Compass' Take:
- Stasia Obremskey reflects on the importance of employing philanthropy and impact investing to have a positive impact on women’s lives globally.
- How can investors diversify their portfolios while supporting women's reproductive health?
- Read more about taking a global approach to reproductive health.
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Stasia Obremskey: In my late twenties, my hard-charging career as a Wall Street investment banker, Harvard B-School grad, and management consultant took a left turn when I set off to Bangkok as a trailing spouse. Once there, I went to work for Mechai Viravaidya, the ‘Condom King of Thailand’ who earned his name for his ground-breaking work in family planning and his famous restaurant, Cabbages and Condoms.
In the early 90s, Thailand was becoming one of the epicenters of the AIDS epidemic, and Mechai had emerged as one of the leading AIDS activists in Asia. My job was to analyze the economic impact of AIDS on the Thai economy if the government didn’t take aggressive actions to prevent the spread of HIV. This work took me throughout the country to understand the drivers of the Thai AIDS epidemic, primarily the widespread prostitution industry supported by both international tourists and everyday Thai males.
My experience in Thailand has informed my philanthropy, professional choices, and personal philosophy to this day. I strongly believe that when you give women the opportunity to manage their fertility, combined with educational opportunities, you unleash 50 percent of the world’s human capital.
I have organized my philanthropy around education and family planning initiatives both in the US and globally with organizations like Room to Read and UpstreamUSA, among others. I think of my philanthropic portfolio in the same way I think about my financial portfolio: to look for diversity across regions by investing locally, nationally, and globally. I conduct thorough due diligence on an organization and then I almost always make unrestricted gifts, believing that the organization’s leadership team should know the highest and best use for additional resources.
Read the full article about reproductive justice and philanthropy by Stasia Obremskey at The Conscious Investor.