On International Day of the Girl Child, Catapult Opens Its Digital Doors!

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From our colleagues at Catapult:

Catapult.org Launches First Crowdfunding Site Focused on Equality for Girls and Women

New York, NY, October 11, 2012 – Today, on International Day of the Girl Child, global advocacy organization Women Deliver launched Catapult, the first online funding platform dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and women worldwide. By partnering with trusted organizations and connecting them with a new online audience, Catapult provides a call to action to help bring an end to gender inequality.

Girls’ and women’s organizations are chronically underfunded, despite their key role in addressing inequality. One-fifth of all women’s organizations report the threat of closure, and only two cents of every development dollar goes toward adolescent girls. Investing in girls and women strengthens families, communities and nations.

Harnessing the power of social networks, Catapult is a digital hub driving donations to organizations working to improve the lives of girls and women.

“Catapult is a connector,” said Founder, Maz Kessler. “It’s a tool for people to take direct, effective action to create change. Catapult unites online supporters with trusted organizations to help fuel the movement to end inequality for girls and women.”

Organizations can upload their projects to Catapult, and donors can fund the issues that speak to them most, such as agriculture, ending child brides, education, family planning and gender-based violence.

Donors can also learn about projects by following Catapult Curators – thought-leaders championing specific projects in their areas of focus and passion. Curators include actress and advocate Maria Bello; Man Up Campaign Founder Jimmie Briggs; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Director of Family Health Gary Darmstadt; GirlUp Teen Advisor Co-Chair Annie Gersh; and Women Deliver President Jill Sheffield.

To ensure transparency, each Catapult project includes a breakdown of how donations will be applied. Project budgets, including administrative costs, GPS coordinates, and video are all standard features of the platform. Catapult is free for all parties.

Catapult is launching with projects in more than 30 countries around the world, including: a Mobile Literacy Class, using mobile phones and texting to accelerate literacy for Afghan girls and women; Birth Waiting Homes for Women in Sierra Leone, housing pregnant women in homes close to hospitals to avoid long, dangerous journeys while in labor; and Empowering Youth to Challenge Early Marriage, helping young people, particularly boys and men, to challenge the underlying attitudes of child marriage.

“I am always inspired by the commitment of women I meet in the developing world to create a better future for their families. Investing in women can be transformational for entire societies. Today reminds us that we all have a role to play in unlocking the potential of women and girls,” said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Catapult was a featured commitment at the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative meeting and has been endorsed by the World Bank and UN Women.

“UN Women is proud to support Catapult,” said Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women. “When more people contribute, change comes faster for girls and women.”

Crowdfunding is rapidly transforming the funding landscape and democratizing philanthropy. As of 2011, in the United States alone, charitable giving through crowdfunding exceeded US$636 million and grew at a rate of 43 percent. Over the next three years, Catapult has committed to raise US$45 million.

Developed at Women Deliver, and funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Catapult is working with a variety of partners both large and small, including the Global Fund for Women, the United Nations Population Fund, IPPF, the Akilah Institute for Women and One-Heart World-Wide.

Learn more about how to launch your change for girls and women at www.catapult.org, and join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Catapult.org and Twitter: @wecatapult.