Pathfinder International

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Pathfinder International
Legal statusFoundation
PurposeBirth control, Humanitarian
HeadquartersWatertown, MA
Region served
Africa, Asia, South America
President & CEO
Lois Quam
Board Chair
Richard L. Berkowitz, MD
Key people
Clarence Gamble, Henry Foster, Paul H. Todd, Jr.
$107 million
1,271 people worldwide
Formerly called
The Pathfinder Fund

Pathfinder International, based in Watertown, Massachusetts, is a global non-profit organization (NGO 501(c)(3)) that focuses on reproductive health, family planning, HIV/AIDS prevention and care, and maternal health. The organization operates in more than 20 developing countries throughout Africa, Asia, the Near East, and Latin America. According to their website, "Pathfinder International places reproductive health services at the center of all that we do—believing that health care is not only a fundamental human right but is critical for expanding opportunities for women, families, communities, and nations, while paving the way for transformations in development."[1]


While Pathfinder International was originally incorporated as The Pathfinder Fund in 1957, their family planning work began in the late 1920s when Pathfinder founder, Clarence Gamble, heir of the Procter & Gamble soap company fortune, supported efforts to introduce contraception to women and couples in the United States and 60 other countries. He also launched the first community-based service model, which is still the foundation of Pathfinder's success today.

Sarah Gamble, Clarence Gamble's wife, named the organization in honor of a quote by the poet Antonio Machado, "Traveler, there is no path, paths are made by walking."

Pathfinder surpassed revenue of US$100 million for the first time in 2010 (FY).[2] In 2011, Pathfinder announced the retirement of Daniel E. Pellegrom, the longest-serving president of a global reproductive health organization in history after becoming CEO of Pathfinder International in 1985. In 2012, Purnima Mane joined Pathfinder as President and CEO, after serving as Deputy Director of United Nations Population Fund.[3]

Lois Quam, named three times to FORTUNE's list of the most influential women leaders in business, became Pathfinder's President & CEO in 2017. She has served as chief operating officer of The Nature Conservancy and as a senior advisor to Secretary Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. She was selected by President Barack Obama to head his signature Global Health Initiative at the Department of State,[4] which provided more than $8 billion annually to help solve major health challenges facing millions of individuals across 80 countries.

Pathfinder was one of several nonprofits mentioned in Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a best-selling book written by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn and first published in September 2009. Pathfinder is currently listed as a key partner on the Half the Sky Movement website.

In 2017, Pathfinder celebrated its 60th anniversary.


Pathfinder International works together with many organizations, ranging from national ministries of health to local NGOs, to deliver reproductive health and family planning information and services to women, young adults, and rural populations. Pathfinder's programs also integrate HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment activities. The group has worked with UN Women, UNFPA, World Bank and a number of other partners to organize different programs and projects.[5]

Pathfinder operates family planning and reproductive health programs in more than 20 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, offering training for service providers and managers, and technical assistance to grantee organizations.[6]



  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Côte d'Ivoire
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Kenya
  • Mozambique
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Uganda

Asia and Pacific[edit]

  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Myanmar
  • Pakistan

Latin America[edit]

  • Peru


Most of the group's funding comes from the United States Agency for International Development, totaling more than $160 million in fiscal year 2017.[8] In addition, the organization receives funding from multilateral organizations, private foundations, and individuals.

As part of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, U.S. government support for AIDS prevention was contingent on opposing prostitution starting in 2003.[9] Pathfinder preferred to remain neutral so as not to alienate sex workers from their anti-HIV efforts so they sued in federal court with other non-profits.[10] In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the requirement violated the First Amendment's prohibition against compelled speech in Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc.[11] In early 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court returned with another ruling in favor of the Alliance for Open Society International. The latest decision affirmed a 2013 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which found that the government cannot tell its American grantees what they can and cannot say.[12]


Like many older birth control organizations, Pathfinder initially overlapped with the eugenics movement. The founder, Clarence Gamble, was a member of Human Betterment League of North Carolina and advocated forced sterilization of mental patients.[13]

During the 1970s, the organization was accused of distributing unsafe contraceptives. Specifically, Pathfinder continued to distribute the Dalkon Shield internationally after it had been pulled from the U.S. market due to high infection rates and used Depo-Provera when it was still considered experimental prior to FDA approval.[14][15]



  • Richard L. Berkowitz - Chair of the Board
  • Roslyn Watson - Vice Chair

Board of Directors[edit]

  • Ana Aguilera
  • Sharon W. Allison
  • Tim Brown
  • Lida Coleman
  • Deborah De Witt
  • Jessie J. Druga
  • Walter Gamble
  • Larrine Holbrooke
  • Julia Kahrl
  • Edward M. Kaplan
  • Jerry Lanier
  • Elizabeth Maguire
  • Florence W. Manguyu, MD
  • Collin Mothupi
  • Tabara Ndiaye
  • Bonnie New
  • Prakash Shah
  • Ronda E. Stryker
  • Ann Svensen
  • Judy Tabb
  • Ralph S. Tate
  • Alfred W. Tate


  1. ^ "Mission". Pathfinder International. Archived from the original on 14 July 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  2. ^ "Pathfinder International: Accredited Charity". Wise Giving Alliance. Better Business Bureau. July 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Pathfinder President". World Health Organization. Archived from the original on 2011-08-07. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Lois Quam to Lead U.S. Global Health Initiative". POZ. 2011-01-31. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  5. ^ "Our Partners". Pathfinder International. Archived from the original on 14 July 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  6. ^ "How We Work". Pathfinder International. Archived from the original on 14 July 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Where We Work". Pathfinder International. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  8. ^ "Annual Report 2017". Pathfinder International Annual Report 2017. Pathfinder. 18 December 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  9. ^ Liptak, Adam (20 June 2013). "Justices Say U.S. Cannot Impose Antiprostitution Condition on AIDS Grants". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  10. ^ Mientka, Matthew (22 April 2013). "US Supreme Court Divides On Free Speech Rights Of Health Groups". Medical Daily. IBT Media. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  11. ^ Roberts, John (20 June 2013). "AGENCY FOR INT'L DEVELOPMENT v. ALLIANCE FOR". Legal Information Institute. Cornell Law School. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  12. ^ Sebastian Krueger (24 February 2015). "A Striking Defeat for U.S. Government's Anti-Prostitution Pledge". Open Society Foundations. Open Society Foundations. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  13. ^ Begos, Kevin (18 May 2011). "The American eugenics movement after World War II". Indy Week. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  14. ^ Miller, James A. (September–October 1996). "Money for mischief: USAID and Pathfinder tag-team women in the developing world". PRI Review. Population Research Institute. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  15. ^ Ehrenreich, Barbara; Minkin, Stephen; Dowie, Mark (November–December 1979). "The Charge: Gynocide". Mother Jones. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  16. ^ "Leadership Staff". Pathfinder International. Retrieved 23 April 2015.

External links[edit]