For most of my life, I worked as a journalist, holding a variety of reporting and editing roles at newspapers in Atlanta and in several N.C. cities. I was always drawn to stories about injustice, particularly around racial disparities, and some of my most fulfilling work was on those topics. After leaving journalism, I worked in nonprofits and as the international outreach director for a church, where I led mission trips and developed partnerships with schools, orphanages and building ministries in Kenya, Nicaragua and Mexico.

In 2015, soon after my mother died and I came into an inheritance, I stumbled on what would be a life-changing opportunity, a new philanthropic group called Maverick Collective. An initiative of Population Services International, Maverick Collective is a community of women philanthropists making catalytic investments in health and reproductive rights to elevate women and girls everywhere.

For me, it was a chance to step into the global health equity space, to join an incredible community of women with similar goals and to make a bold investment aligned with my values. The investment was more than 15 times anything I had previously given and was the best money I have ever “spent.”

The pilot project I chose—in Kenya, a country I had come to love in my previous job—focused on improving the lives of poor women by making long-acting contraception available in communities, not just in clinics. For more than three years, I had the privilege of being a small part of a gigantic effort by the PS Kenya project team to develop and execute this groundbreaking program.

Back home in North Carolina, where I serve on the board of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, there was a different fight. In 2019 the Trump administration instituted a domestic “gag rule,” essentially forcing Planned Parenthood to forgo federal funds covering contraception costs for low-income women. As a result, poor women in Greensboro who wanted long-term contraception were scrambling.

The reality could not be more clear: the fight for equity is the same, whether in Kenya or in North Carolina, and solutions don’t flow in just one direction. The model I was funding in Kenya might also make sense in some neighborhoods in my hometown.

For me, this realization about the connection between global and local needs was a powerful “aha” moment, one that is shaping my strategy as a donor and helping me align my engagement in political activism, social justice and philanthropy.

Read the full article about fighting for global and local equity by Ann Morris at The Conscious Investor