|Formation||March 1, 1999|
|Founders||Hillary Rodham Clinton,|
Mary Daley Yerrick
|Legal status||501(c)(3) nonprofit organization|
Vital Voices Global Partnership is an American international, 501(c)(3), non-profit, non-governmental organization that works with women leaders in the areas of economic empowerment, women's political participation, and human rights. The organization is headquartered in Washington, D.C..
The nonprofit Vital Voices Global Partnership grew out of the U.S. government's Vital Voices Democracy Initiative. The Vital Voices Democracy Initiative was established in 1997 by First Lady of the United States Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, following the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing to promote the advancement of women as a U.S. foreign policy goal. The first Vital Voices Democracy Initiative conference was held in 1997 in Vienna, and hosted by U.S. Ambassador to Austria Swanee Hunt.
The Vital Voices Democracy Initiative led to the creation of Vital Voices Global Partnership as a nonprofit non-governmental organization (NGO) in March 1999.
Former Hillary Clinton aide and chief of staff Melanne Verveer is co-founder of the global partnership and its board chair emeritus. Other co-founders were Alyse Nelson (current President of Vital Voices Global Partnership), Donna McLarty, Mary Yerrick, and Theresa Loar. Loar was the founding President of the Vital Voices Global Partnership and also served as Director of the Vital Voices Democracy Initiative at the U.S. Department of State, the Senior Coordinator for International Women's' Issues at the U.S. Department of State and Director of the President's Interagency Council on Women.
Funding has come from a variety of sources, including individual donations; corporate sponsors such as ExxonMobil, Standard Chartered Bank, and Bank of America; foundations such as the Avon Foundation for Women and Humanity United.
In 2002 Vital Voices was asked by First Lady Laura Bush to drive the effort to supply school uniforms to the many girls returning to school for the first time following the U.S. led overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Mission and programs
Vital Voices' website states that its mission is "to identify, invest in and bring visibility to extraordinary women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities."
Vital Voices works in Africa, Asia, Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Middle East and North Africa, focusing on the business, political and civil society sectors. The organization regularly hosts international forums, capacity-building workshops, and training seminars for women.
Global Leadership Awards
Vital Voices hosts the annual Global Leadership Awards, honoring women leaders working in the areas of human rights, economic empowerment, or political reform. The 2009 ceremony was described as that year's "Most Inspirational Event" in Washington, D.C. in an article in Washington Life Magazine.
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