Making a Global Difference: Local Support of Mona Foundation

As residents of Calabasas and the surrounding areas, we are incredibly lucky and privileged to call this wonderful community home. In our day-to-day lives, we sometimes forget just how fortunate we are. We allow ourselves to become upset about a broken screen on a brand new iPhone or audibly groan in frustration as we sit in traffic in our air-conditioned BMW. We curse our Wi-Fi when it takes too long to buffer our favorite shows on Netflix or tap our foot and check our watches in annoyance when the checker at Sprouts is taking just a bit too long to scan and bag our organic, cage free, grass-fed groceries. Too often, we forget just how much we have and how small our problems really are in the grand scheme of things.

In reality, about 4.8 billion people on our planet, or 80%, live below the poverty line. Worse, about 767 million people live in what is considered extreme poverty. This 10% of our global population must live on less than $2 a day. Education and job opportunities for those in this economic class frequently take a back seat to more basic survival needs. Even then, educational opportunities, if available, are often only offered to little boys and young men. Young women and girls are routinely excluded or looked over in favor of their brothers. This is where Mona Foundation comes in. Mona Foundation believes that “the key to alleviating global poverty and achieving sustained community transformation lies in universal education and gender equality.”

A global nonprofit, Mona Foundation was founded in 1999 by a small group of people, looking to make a difference in the world. The foundation’s namesake, Mona, was a young woman from Iran who was executed in 1983 for her beliefs and for educating the children of neighboring orphanages. The foundation, named for this selfless and courageous young woman, is committed to making life better for the children of the world. Through grassroots educational initiatives, increased opportunities for women and girls, and an emphasis in service to the community, Mona Foundation invests in carefully selected long-term projects that have transformative effect in their communities. According to Mona Foundation’s website, “development is not a package that can be delivered by the ‘developed’ to the ‘underdeveloped,’ but rather a process in which entire populations must, in one way or another, participate.” The foundation is funded in part by donations from private parties, along with fundraisers put on in communities just like ours.

Owner and Principal of the local interior design firm Interior Archaeology, Tammy Randall Wood, ASID, and her husband, David Wood, CEO of Human Touch and Relax The Back, both serve on Mona Foundation’s board of directors. Tammy and David are passionate about Mona Foundation’s unique approach to promoting education and gender equality, and in addition to their work with the foundation, they host an annual Summer Garden Gala at their home in the Santa Monica Mountains to benefit the foundation. “We are amazed at how popular the event has become and so moved by how our local community has embraced this work—they are extraordinary,” says Tammy.

“Mona Foundation, small but powerfully efficient, has such a track record of impact in the communities it serves that its practices are now being studied by other much larger philanthropic organizations,” continues Tammy. “We feel privileged to serve an organization that is in the vanguard of effecting profound transformation. There is one more takeaway we find especially ironic. That is, as we come together to help alleviate suffering around the globe, simultaneously being built is a close-knit local community of great capacity. This waters a seed inside us that has longed to grow. We say this all the time, but it’s us who should be thanking Mona Foundation!”

To learn more about the foundation and how to get involved, visit their website at monafoundation.org.

By Pax Ansley