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Organization Analysis of The Global Fund for Women

1662 words (7 pages) Essay in Organisations

18/05/20 Organisations Reference this

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An Organization Analysis of The Global Fund for Women

 The Global Fund for Women continues to encourage the growth of women’s rights through funding organizations led by women in supporting other women within their communities. The organization receives grants that are financially supported by donors all over the world. The contributions made to Global Fund for Women are broken down into grants and gifted to organizations that support the provision of economic opportunity, independence, improve health/reproductive rights, increase access to education, and end violence against women worldwide (Arrillaga-Andreessen, 2007). The Global Fund for Women holds a unique place in the philanthropic sector of community development because of its unique focus on women’s rights activism and its ability to adapt as generations progress and social issues change. Exploration of leadership changes, grant allocation, organizational strategy, donor motivation, and current programs are analyzed.

Foundation and History of Leadership

 In 1986, Anne Firth Murray recognized a gap in the number of opportunities available to women around the world, so she created a public foundation in order to combat barriers preventing women from succeeding within their communities (Global Fund for Women, n.d.). Murray declared her vision as, “Every woman and girl is strong, safe, powerful, and heard. No exceptions (Global Fund for Women, n.d.)”. In order to advocate this vision, the Global Fund for Women’s mission is to empower women who challenge societal norms through financial support.

Murray communicated with many philanthropists and fundraised money to assist in specific global issues. The four sectors Murray addressed through funding women-led organizations included: addressing violence against women during economic transitions in Eastern Europe, the increase of AIDS in Africa and Asia, political tension and its effect on civilians in the Middle East, and worldwide environmental degradation (Arrillaga-Andreessen, 2007).  The beginning of the Global Fund for Women grew to be more than the founders imagined and began to create a buzz around the world. Donations increased, allowing the Global Fund for Women to create new initiatives. As a start-up foundation, Murray was the final decision maker for all things associated with the allocation of grants (Arrillaga-Andreessen, 2007). Murray recognized that there was a need for change in leadership if the foundation was to continue to grow in the philanthropic network and stepped down in 1996 (Arrillaga-Andreessen, 2007).

Kavita Ramdas was chosen as the new CEO of the Global Fund for Women (Global Fund for Women, n.d.). Ramdas wanted to change the perception of the Global Fund for Women from a singular focus on women’s rights by transitioning the view of the organization to the advocacy of women-led organizations as a means to connect all aspects of social change (Arrillaga-Andreessen, 2007). Ramdas’ goal for the organization was for their efforts to have a more significant influence on policy-related decisions for more considerable global change (Arrillaga-Andreessen, 2007). When regions are able to change legislation, it sets a precedent for opportunities offered by other countries. Legislative change creates new norms for society because it turns ideas into action. Ramdas accomplished the transition by changing the organization’s strategy, culture, and process of grant allocation, all while maintaining the original mission and values established by Murray (Arrillaga-Andreessen, 2007). The changes implemented by Ramdas are significant in ensuring that the foundation remains as a leader in the philanthropic network.

Challenges and Organizational Change

 During the first direction given under Anne Firth Murray, there was a need for increased revenue, but the decisions were reliant on one person. The Global Fund for Women continues to grow, and due to the high demand for financial advocacy, there is a need to expand beyond the ideas of only one person. Murray established a democratic system within the organization but still required final decision making to come from the founder alone, because of this she felt that the foundation would benefit from the ideas of a new leader (Arrillaga-Andreessen, 2007). As Ramdas took on the leadership position, she recognized a need to expand the donor networks across many fields and to improve professionalism within the foundation by changing the position titles to blend with the norms within the philanthropic network (Arrillaga-Andreesen, 2007). Ramdas implemented collaboration between the fields of development and communication, programs, finance, and administration to enhance responsibility and accountability between departments (Arrillaga-Andreessen, 2007). Through the years, the Global Fund for Women adapts to change to maintain a competitive edge in its market.

Grant Making Decisions

 The foundation focused on decreasing barriers that exist when organizations apply for grants by prioritizing the types of organizations receiving financial support (Arrillaga-Andreessen, 2007). They consider start-ups, organizations that focus on controversial human rights issues, and organizations led by marginalized populations (Arrillaga-Andreessen, 2007). The Global Fund for Women assists in connecting grantees with donors to guide the use of funds rather than strictly manage the use of the grant money (Arrillaga-Andreessen, 2007). In order to filter requests for grants, the foundation implements a strict list of requirements for applicants. The organization applying must be a group of women working together to empower their community, it must be based outside of the United States, and is governed or led directly by women (Arrillaga-Andreessen, 2007). By setting these guidelines for applicants the Global Fund for Women is able to grant awards more efficiently. The Global Fund for Women awards grants to organizations every three months (Arrillaga-Andreessen, 2007). The turnover is quick, which differs from other programs that may take many more months or even years to find out about grant reception.

Leadership Structure and Organizational Strategy

 Arrillaga-Andreessen states that the Global Fund for Women implements “small business connections within a large foundation” (2007). Incorporation of a small business mentality of employee relations is important because when employees’ thoughts and ideas are encouraged, there is increased productivity and pride in the output of the associates (Kessler, 2017). Ramdas maintained the non-hierarchal system but created layers of structure through clear responsibilities and expectations through staff value discussions (Arrillaga-Andreessen, 2007). Discussions of value create a platform for leaders to understand ways to improve their management style and increase trust in the workplace. While creating layers in leadership within the foundation, Ramdas implemented the “Lily Pad” organizational structure (Arrillaga-Andreessen. 2007). This structure allocates responsibilities to the people making connections between the department of development and communication, programs, and finance (Arrillaga-Andreessen, 2007). By establishing clear expectations and cross-departmental communication, Ramdas expanded the network by introducing colleagues to donors and creating deeper relationships that allow the donors to see what their contributions are going towards (Arrillaga-Andreessen, 2007).

Connecting Grant-Making, Leadership Structure, and Organizational Strategy

 The linkage between grant-making decisions, leadership structure, and organizational strategy allows the foundation to have a strong base to continue its work in global philanthropy. It allows people to work together within each sector of the lily pad organizational structure and create deeper connections amongst employees and its leaders. Clear expectations are made and encourage accountability on the type of organizations that are receiving funds. The implementation of these changes allows a more significant impact on communities worldwide.

Benefits to Donors

 It is critical that foundations such as the Global Fund for Women to give an incentive to donors. In doing so, it allows donors to feel like they are making a difference and to give continually. Ramdas created stronger relationships with their donors by creating partnership grants so large scale organizations may assist through allocating specific grants within their communities (Arrillaga-Andreesen, 2007). The use of performance assessments encourages accountability of the efforts made by the foundation (Arrillaga-Andreesen, 2007). Assessments are measurable and allow there to be a system of tracking for quality control. Since the Global Fund for Women does not directly manage the money use granted to organizations, it is important for there to be a tangible measurement tool.

New Programs and Alignment to the Mission

 Currently, the Global Fund for Women implements many initiatives that respond to niches within community development. They empower young women to lead social movements and advocate for sexual rights and health, which will aid all genders within the grantee’s community (Global Fund for Women, n.d.). It also promotes knowledge through the use of technology by women pursuing professional development (Global Fund for Women, n.d.). The foundation adapts to the future and invests in the change of technology and its effects on society. The programs implemented stick to the mission of empowering women who refuse to comply with the heteronormative society they live in and to make a change.


 Through changes within the Global Fund for Women, it expanded its donors and its initiatives. Each leader provides innovation into the field of philanthropy, and the ideas and collaborations maintain the vision and mission of the foundation. The Global Fund for Women continues to adapt to the progression of societal standards and encourages women to be activists within their communities. Barriers will continue to arise. However, as long as the Global Fund for Women remains true to their vision for global change, women of all ages will continue to have the support they need and receive empowerment through accountability and financial stability.


  • Arrillaga-Andreessen, L. & Chang, V. (2007). Global fund for women. Stanford Graduate School of Business Case No. SI-62. Standford, CA: Stanford Graduate School of Business.
  • Council on Foundations. (2019). Public foundations. Council on Foundations. Retrieved from
  • Global Fund for Women. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • Kessler, S. R., Nixon, A. E., & Nord, W.R. (2017). Examining organic and mechanistic structures: Do we know as much as we thought? International Journal of Management Reviews, 19. 531-555.
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