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Pathfinder International Awarded MacArthur Funds Supporting An Equitable Recovery

The grant will support Pathfinder International’s work to advance public health equity and COVID-19 mitigation and recovery

July 27, 2021 — Pathfinder International was awarded a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for its work to advance COVID-19 mitigation and recovery by curbing vaccine hesitancy, improving equitable access to quality vaccine services, and strengthening accountability mechanisms for vaccine delivery in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory of Abuja, and Kano and Kaduna states.

The grant is part of roughly $80 million in awards MacArthur announced today in support of the foundation’s Equitable Recovery initiative, centered on advancing racial and ethnic justice. The initiative is funded by MacArthur’s social bonds, issued in response to the crises of the pandemic and racial inequity.

“As an organization that has played a significant role in furthering health equity and strengthening the health system in Nigeria for the past 50 years, we thank the MacArthur Foundation for giving us the opportunity to do this life-saving work,” said Dr. Amina Dorayi, Pathfinder’s Country Director in Nigeria. “This initiative specifically builds on the MacArthur Foundation-supported interventions we conducted with religious leaders in Kano state last year to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

“As we emerge from this moment of crisis, we have an opportunity to improve the critical systems that people and places need to thrive. Our systems and structures must be rebuilt,” said MacArthur President John Palfrey. “We are committed to ensuring that our response to the pandemic is focused on supporting the reimagining of systems that create a more just, equitable, and resilient world.”

Pathfinder International is driven by the conviction that all people, regardless of where they live, have the right to decide whether and when to have children, to exist free from fear and stigma, and to lead the lives they choose. As a global health organization with locally led, community-driven programs, we support women to make their own reproductive health decisions. We work with local partners to advance health in communities around the world—including those affected by poverty, conflict, climate change, and natural disasters. Taken together, our programs enable millions of people to choose their own paths forward.

Pathfinder International is one of 35 organizations receiving grants, totaling $22 million, advancing the Public Health Equity and COVID-19 Mitigation and Recovery focus of the Foundation’s initiative. Public Health Equity and COVID-19 Mitigation and Recovery supports improving access to resources for immediate health challenges while advancing new policies, models, and structures to support a more equitable and resilient public health sector in the future.

To advance racial and ethnic justice, MacArthur is supporting work in that focus, as well as three other areas:

  • Racial Justice Field Support, with a focus on combatting anti-Blackness, supports building Black power by supporting Black-led and -focused philanthropic organizations. MacArthur also will take a leadership role in positioning reparations and racial healing as issues that philanthropy helps to meaningfully address.
  • Self-determination of Indigenous Peoples supports uplifting Indigenous communities to enable autonomous pursuit of a recovery guided by their priorities, cultures, and practices.
  • An Equitable Housing Demonstration Project supports restoring communities and reducing incarceration and housing instability by generating an array of housing solutions that can help to permanently end the use of jails and prisons as housing of last resort.

MacArthur identified the areas through a participatory process with a diverse group of external advisors, who informed its strategic approach. The participatory process aimed to center the voices of communities that are affected by the Foundation’s decisions and have a stake in the grantmaking outcomes.

Almost two-thirds of the awards represent new grantee relationships, and most of the organizations are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-led or -serving. The grants also reflect MacArthur’s global reach: 45 percent of the new funding supports work outside of the U.S., including 12 percent in India, and 14 percent in Nigeria, where MacArthur has offices.

Equitable Recovery Initiative

In the fall of 2020, MacArthur established a $125 million Equitable Recovery Initiative. The Foundation deployed $40 million of bond proceeds through 24 grants. Initial grants focused on strengthening voter mobilization and election protection, addressing anti-Black racism, and supporting Native Americans impacted by COVID-19. Grants also supported Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous arts organizations in Chicago, technology and justice, and a fund for social entrepreneurs advancing racial equity.

View all Equitable Recovery grantees.

MacArthur media contact: Kristen Mack, [email protected]

Pathfinder International media contact: Laurel Lundstrom, [email protected]

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