She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
She says: “I receive so much more from my work than I am able to give back. I live with gratitude that I get to do such transcendent and meaningful work”.
She says also: “Washington is handing out tax breaks to millionaires with one hand and shredding the safety net with the other. It’s obscene.” (see more on Responsible Wealth).
Marta Drury – USA
Marta Drury, who believes in the power of women to lead sustainable peacekeeping, provides support from her own personal resources to grassroots organizations throughout the world. She tells the stories of women who are making a difference, and created The Resourceful Women Awards, which honor and reward women who work at the frontlines. Marta is an outspoken member of Responsible Wealth, a national network of wealthy Americans who believe it is wrong to give tax breaks to the rich. Marta Drury, who believes in the power of women to lead sustainable peacekeeping, provides support through her Heart and Hand Fund to grassroots organizations throughout the world from her own personal resources. She tells the stories of women who are making a difference and created The Resourceful Women Awards, which honors and rewards women who work on the frontlines. Marta is an outspoken member of Responsible Wealth, a national network of wealthy Americans who believe it is wrong to give tax breaks to the rich.
When Marta Drury was six years old, her father bought his first truck. In the mornings he was a mailman, and in the afternoons collected garbage for the village. “My parents’ bedroom was the office for the first four or five years, as they took a one-truck business to an international conglomerate,” Marta recalls. Marta worked in the family business growing up and went on to receive a master’s degree in special education. But when her daughter arrived, the single mother didn’t want to spend her emotional energy teaching, and supported herself with miscellaneous small businesses, including catering, hot tubs, bookstores, and toys.
In the mid-1980s, a few months before her father began discussions about leaving his wealth to Marta, she happened to read a small story about an organization called Resourceful Women. Marta tore out the story and said to herself, “Someday I’m going to need this.”
Marta’s first philanthropic project was the Woodlake Fund, which gives scholarships for post-secondary education to young women of color in East Palo Alto, California. Recipients are highly-motivated but average students who would not otherwise go beyond high school. Since then, Marta has concentrated on projects in the Balkans, such as Motrat Qiriazi Kosova, Centre for Women’s Studies Croatia, Center for Women War Victims Croatia, Zene Zenama Bosnia, Zene Na Delu Serbia, Publishing ‘94 Serbia, Kontra Croatia, and Antico Macedonia, and Global Fund for Women-USA and Urgent Action Fund-USA.
She serves on the International Funding Panel of Astraea Lesbian Action Foundation, is an advisor to the Global Fund for Women, and is a founding member of the Women Donors Network.
Marta’s non-restricted donations serve to empower women in their own communities. “I trust the work of the women funded by Heart and Fund,” she says, “and I trust their decisions on how best to use the money they receive. Besides funding organizations, Heart and Hand Fund makes grants to women activists who are in the field and can make smaller grants that make a difference. This way they also get to be grant makers.”
In many cases, Marta’s investment has begun a long-term peace-building process. For example, in March 2004 a mob of ethnic Albanians attacked Serbian communities in Kosova, killing 28 people and burning hundreds of homes. An ethnic Albanian activist who was receiving grant money from Heart and Hand Fund helped Serbian victims recover. Not only did the funds allow women and their families to rebuild their homes, the process began the healing process between individual Serbian and ethnic Albanians. “In my experience,” says Marta, “this happens first among women.
“I feel that most international funders ignore the work of women activists and underestimate its significance, even though it’s women activists who rush in to provide emergency humanitarian aid and organize their communities,” says Marta. “In the Balkans, it is women who cross borders to support one another in spite of civil wars. After the war, the same women who have worked on the frontlines are usually shut out of the discussions and decision-making that affects the reconstruction of the country. At the same time, the men who were holding the guns a few weeks earlier are invited to sit at those same tables.”
In 1992, Marta designed The Resourceful Women Awards, to be given to women who show outstanding leadership in working for progressive social change. Members of the nationwide group donate a minimum of $25,000; financial awards are given to 10 women every year.
Marta is engaged with the women whose work she funds in many ways. “The efforts of women who work in the larger community never ends; these women activists tend not to take good care of themselves. They don’t get a massage or see a therapist, or attend a grief workshop. I invite the grantees of Heart and Hand to take time for themselves – to sit on a beach for a week with no agenda except to try out the different kinds of sun lotion – although the reality is that spontaneously we end up discussing the issues of each country”. (Read all on 1000peacewomen).
Some of America’s Richest Say ‘No, Thanks’ to Bush Tax Cuts.