28 Sep 2018

The Girls First Fund Launches at Goalkeepers 2018

CIFF is one of eight organisations joining together in the announcement of a new donor collaborative aimed at ending child marriage

The Girls First Fund, a new donor collaborative championing community-led efforts to end child marriage, launched Wednesday 26th of September at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s second annual Goalkeepers event in New York City. Goalkeepers Accelerators are selected for their ability to bring together partners from different sectors around common agendas for action, seeking to catalyze investments, expertise, and innovation to drive progress toward the U.N Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals).

Alongside CIFF, the fund’s founding partners include: the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Dutch Postcode Lottery, Ford Foundation, Girls Not Brides, The Kendeda Fund, NoVo Foundation, and an anonymous donor.

With the bold vision of a world in which every girl can decide if, when, and whom to marry, the Girls First Fund sees ending child marriage as central to achieving gender equality, as well as contributing to the advancement of multiple Global Goals. With the belief that girls have an essential role to play in the programs and policies that affect their lives, the fund’s founding partners have joined together to unlock new funding that will focus on girl- and community-led initiatives.

Recognizing that girls, families, and communities are in the best position to create lasting local change, the fund is committed to working with community-based organizations to shift mindsets, behavior, and social norms. These local experts can access the most marginalized communities, influence local stakeholders, and prevent and swiftly respond to opportunities and challenges in real time.

Jody Myrum of NoVo Foundation and Committee Chair of the Girls First Fund, said: “The Girls First Fund is a living, dynamic investment in the wisdom and leadership of girls and communities. It is grounded in a deep belief that a world without child marriage is now within our reach, but will only be realized through local solutions. We are excited and grateful that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and our fellow Goalkeepers share a strong belief in the transformative potential of the community work supported by this new fund.”


With an understanding that many philanthropists face challenges in getting funding directly to community based organizations, the partners aim to provide an easy way for other donors to support existing girl and community-driven initiatives through streamlined grant making. The fund is housed at Capital for Good USA, a U.S. 501(c)(3) public charity, with services provided by Geneva Global, a philanthropy consulting firm.


David Dahlin, Geneva Global CEO, said: “Geneva Global is proud to provide services and strategic oversight to this inspiring group of donors in realizing their vision of a world free from child marriage. We are thrilled that the Girls First Fund’s commitment to championing community-led efforts resonates so strongly with those who are dedicated to doing good.”


In 2019, the Girls First Fund will launch a Learning Year by piloting the fund in six countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Dominican Republic, India, Nepal, Niger, and Uganda. Inaugural grants will inform the development, in partnership with grantees and local stakeholders, of a multi-year strategy that will launch in 2020.

For more information on the Girls First Fund, click here.

Girls First Fund 3