The Global Fund for Children

Hi folks! I'm blogging from my apartment in DC for the very last time. Tomorrow morning at 4:45a.m. I'll be hopping on a shuttle to the airport and flying out to Disney. And while I'm super excited to see all my old co-workers and go back to the parks after a whole year away, I'm definitely sad to be leaving DC and the friends I made here. Since my last day at GFC was yesterday, I got to thinking and realized that I never truly gave the organization it's due on my blog. And since yesterday was a particularly poignant day in my internship (I did my final presentation, said my goodbyes and hopefully left having made an impact), I wanted to devote today's entry to them. I'll blog more about my reflections on my DC summer in a later post.

So, what is The Global Fund for Children? I wouldn't be surprised if many of you hadn't heard of them, as I definitely hadn't until I applied for my internship last March. Now, perhaps that's because I was entirely tuned out to the non-profit community, but that's another story in itself. In a nutshell, The Global Fund for Children is a grant-making organization that supports innovative, grassroots groups around the world that in turn help the most "vulnerable" (aka impoverished, those without access to education or proper health care, etc.) children in their communities. They are structured with Program Officers that cover different regions of the world, and these officers go out and scout for the groups that will eventually be funded. One of my favorite grantee partners is the original: the train platform schools in India.

The organization's founder, Maya Ajmera, discovered this group before she started GFC -- in fact, it was her inspiration to begin the non-profit. Basically, children in India who work/sleep/eat/live on/near the train platforms weren't getting an education, but instead of trying to change the culture and get those kids sent to school instead of being sent to the platforms, one innovative teacher decided to bring the school to the kids. He/She (?) started coming by and giving lessons to the children. Maya found out that it took something like $400USD a YEAR to support this school and keep things running, and that's when she decided to start GFC and give small, but incredibly meaningful, grants to people that are trying to make a difference at the COMMUNITY level. Through my summer, I've learned that all too often it's these small, grassroots-level groups that are missed -- they fly under the radar with all of the huge, more national-in-scope non-profits that steal the spotlight. Yet often, it's these small groups that truly understand the needs and culture of the community THE BEST -- they can make the most difference, and they don't need a million dollars to do it.

So that's how GFC's grant-making mission came about, but then there's also a book publishing program, and that's where I spent my summer. The Global Fund for Children Books brand is spectacular -- at present they have roughly 25 photo-illustrated titles that are all about multiculturalism and promoting global citizenship among children. A few of my favorites are Global Babies, a board book for infants/toddlers that shows the faces of babies around the world, Faith, a book for elementary-school children that depicts kids of all different religions engaging in prayer, celebrations and rituals, and Children from Australia to Zimbabwe, which was actually GFC's first book -- it's an A-Z tour of the globe featuring children from 26 different countries. What I like best about these books is the fact that they introduce children to diversity at a very early age and in a way that's subtle, but again, can make a great impact. It teaches children to recognize the different cultures of the world, but also helps them look beyond the differences to find how similar they actually are to all different races, religions, socioeconomic statuses, etc. It really does promote global citizenship, which I hope helps foster a more tolerant, accepting and peaceful generation!

During my internship, I was essentially in charge of revamping GFC's books marketing program and creating a strategic partnership outreach platform. I worked up an Integrated Marketing Communications Plan template for the organization and filled it out for three of their books, and then I did research surrounding strategic partnerships in both the corporate and non-profit sectors and hopefully got GFC's foot in the door with several different organizations. I also made some great friends while I was there, and will miss seeing everyone's smiling, PASSIONATE faces every day (Hi Tamar, Jerry, Cynthia, Maya, Victoria, Amy, EVERYONE!).

If you are interested in learning more about The Global Fund for Children, I HIGHLY suggest that you visit their Web site -- and check out the ONLINE BOOKSTORE (See the SHOP ONLINE link at the top right). If you purchase your children's books (for your children, as a gift, for a friend who is having a baby shower) directly from GFC's Web site than all of the proceeds from the sale go right back into funding GFC book development and/or grantmaking (i.e. purchasing from a mass retailer deliver only a small royalty to GFC, so if you really want to help the organization, buy direct)! And of course, if you have any questions about my experience, you can feel free to ask me directly. :)

That's a wrap folks, see you real soon (i.e. after my Disney trip!).

6 Responses to "The Global Fund for Children"

Anonymous responded on August 19, 2009 at 2:09 AM #

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Gabby responded on August 19, 2009 at 9:55 AM #

Thanks Margaret, I'm glad you're enjoying the blog! :)

Anonymous responded on August 21, 2009 at 11:47 AM #

I discovered your blog a few months ago, and greatly appreciate the insight into HBS and your experiences there. I'm planning on applying to HBS this fall, and was wondering if you could share any advice on the admissions process. Did you have any weaknesses in your application that you worked on before applying? What was the interview like?

Thanks for your insight and a great blog!


Gabby responded on August 25, 2009 at 8:07 PM #

Hi Brian,

Thanks for the comment!

I think we all have weaknesses in our application -- I haven't yet met a perfect candidate! It's all about how you frame it, though, and work on making the weakness a strength. An obvious weakness of mine was a lack of experience in finance/quantitative methods, and although I think it's still a weakness, I've worked on it through tutoring, community college courses, etc.

The interview wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but I came in VERY prepared and got a nice admissions rep as my interviewer. They really are just trying to get a sense for who you are, why you want the degree and what you will add to the classroom. If you are real, honest and prepared with your "stories" you should do fine!

Best of luck in your application process and please do let me know if you have any other questions!

Brian responded on September 2, 2009 at 3:43 PM #

Thanks for the advice Gabby, I greatly appreciate it. Another question I have is how much emphasis do you think HBS admissions place on the GMAT score? Also, what is the lowest GMAT score that you know of amongst your peers at HBS?

My GMAT score will definitely be my weakness in the application. Do you think that HBS admissions would factor in strong academic performance elsewhere in the application (such as the accounting class I took at Harvard this summer) to offset a low GMAT score?

Thanks again!


Gabby responded on September 4, 2009 at 5:22 PM #

Hi again Brian,

It's very hard for me to address your latest question, as I have no idea how much weight HBS puts on the GMAT score, especially when considering the other strengths and weaknesses in a candidate's application.

I can tell you this: ALL of the top b-schools are pretty open in stating that it's rare for applicants to be admitted when they have GMAT scores under 700. Remember this says RARE, not IMPOSSIBLE, and even HBS states on their Web site that candidates shouldn't allow a GMAT score under 700 to deter them from applying. I think you'll also notice from looking at the data on past admitted students that GMAT scores do tend to be quite high. I would consider re-taking the test if you think that a low score is the biggest hurdle in your application. Perhaps with a GMAT prep class (I took a Princeton Review course and found it very helpful), you can achieve a score more in the typical range?

As for the lowest GMAT score I know that a friend got, well, to be honest, we don't discuss it at all so I have no idea! I got a 720, but I don't know the GMAT score of a single one of my classmates. I heard a rumor that several people got perfect scores, but again, who knows if that's true!

I hope that this is helpful!