The Change.org Foundation is a charitable organization affiliated with the online petition website Change.org. The group works internationally, mostly in India and other developing countries.
Change.org Foundation appears to provide training and technical support to a number of locally grown for left-progressive-aligned social change campaigns, many of them in India, central and South America, and developing parts of Africa, especially campaigns relating to environmentalism and the status of women and girls. 1
In Thailand, the foundation has worked since 2019 with activists to analyze engagement on social media posts relating to sustainable agriculture and protecting fishing stocks. The campaign develops campaign messaging to support environmental protection activism. 2
In Indonesia, the national affiliate of Change.org Foundation, called Perkumpulan Gerakan Digital Bangsa, has received a series of grants from the ClimateWorks Foundation to undertake digital media campaigns related to land use and forest reclamation, especially reducing cultivation of palm oil. 3
In 2017, the foundation unveiled She Creates Change, a project to identify and develop female social activists in India. The first She Creates Change Learning Lab was held in November 2017 in Bangalore, focusing on female-led campaigns to end female genital mutilation, reduce cesarean-section births, and secure legal recognition of single parents. 4 The program has since expanded to Indonesia and Japan, where the foundation supported an effort to change dominant attitudes towards appropriate female dress in business settings. 5
In 2017, Change.org Foundation received a series of grants from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to conduct a public awareness campaign on reducing carbon emissions from and improving yields and efficiency in the palm oil industry, which is centered in developing areas of Africa and in Indonesia. 6
The Global Executive Director of the Change.org Foundation is Preethi Herman. Herman was born in the south of India in a “tribal community that had no roads, no electricity, or medical facilities.” After leaving her hometown for school, she eventually joined Change.org to develop its India-specific platform, growing it from fewer than 200,000 users to a current 10 million active citizens. Herman led petition efforts opposing female genital mutilation and increasing legal rights for single parents. After joining Change.org Foundation, she created and led the She Creates Change program in India, later expanding it to other countries. 7 She was named global executive director of the foundation in April 2018. 8
In 2019, Herman was named to the first class of 20 Obama Foundation Fellows. 9 Herman was one of three women highlighted by former President Barack Obama on International Women’s Day in 2019, tweeting that Herman was “helping women unleash their power to change their societies” and “leading an initiative that combines online tools with in-person organizing, giving women a voice in her native India—and beyond.” 10
- “About Us.” Change.org Foundation. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://changefoundation.org/about/.
- “Power of listening.” Change.org Foundation. May 18, 2018. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://changefoundation.org/power-of-listening/.
- Grants Database.” ClimateWorks Foundation. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://www.climateworks.org/grants-database/.
- “She Creates Change.” Change.org Foundation. Jan. 15, 2017. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://changefoundation.org/she-creates-change/.
- “#KuToo in Japanese offices.” Change.org Foundation. Aug. 19, 2019. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://changefoundation.org/kutoo-in-japanese-offices/.
- “Change.org Charitable Foundation.” David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://www.packard.org/grants-and-investments/grants-database/the-change-org-charitable-foundation/; “Perkumpulan Gerakan Digital Bangsa.” David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://www.packard.org/grants-and-investments/grants-database/perkumpulan-gerakan-digital-bangsa-2/.
- “Unleashing the Power of Women.” Obama Foundation. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://www.obama.org/fellowship/preethi-herman/.
- “New Executive Director.” Change.org Foundation. April 4, 2018. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://changefoundation.org/new-global-executive-director/.
- Shylaja Varma. “Indian Woman Among 20 Picked For Barack Obama’s Coveted Fellowship.” NDTV. April 16, 2018. Accessed July 29, 2020. https://www.ndtv.com/people/indian-woman-preethi-herman-among-20-picked-for-barack-obamas-coveted-fellowship-1838447#:~:text=Indian%20Woman%20Among%2020%20Picked%20For%20Barack%20Obama%27s,Fellows%20on%20Monday.%20People%20Edited%20by%20Shylaja%20Varma.
- Nicole Gallucci. “Barack Obama tweets inspiring thread to celebrate International Women’s Day.” Mashable.com. March 8, 2019. Accessed July 29, 2020. https://me.mashable.com/social-good/2969/barack-obama-tweets-inspiring-thread-to-celebrate-international-womens-day#:~:text=International%20Women%27s%20Day%20is%20here%2C%20and%20to%20mark,tweeted%20before%20most%20people%20had%20their%20morning%20coffee.