Thursday, March 22, 2012

Anatolian Changemaker: A Turkish Girl's Tale

By Hanzade Germiyanoglu

Here I am sitting on a bank in an organic farm Punpun, in the north part of Thailand, Chiang Mai. I am reporting on change and agents of change. I have been thinking a lot about the concept of change, since I got Dan and Chip Heath's book, "Switch" at a Council on Foundations meeting in 2010. Is change really as simple as the word "switch" resembles? Is it an overnight process or a sharp decision people make?

Change is hard, especially when the present offerings of our daily life give some sort of stability and regularity. Comfort in an uncomfortable world is desired. So desired, we cling onto the daily grind like an addiction. But like any addiction, it soon comes to suffocate us. We start to look for ways to get out of the trap and slumber. We listen for the bells that will wake us up.

Bells rang for me back in September 2011, as I was sipping my morning coffee at my desk in the office. I was looking at an ad about an Anatolia Jam "event" in my inbox. It said:

"Are you a young leader between the ages of 18-35 working in the field of social change and community transformation? Here is our invitation to you..

Anatolia Jam brings together 20 young leaders devoted to social, ecological and economic change and community transformation for 5 days. During the gathering, between 2-6 September, in the Mount Ida (known as the Mountain of the Goddess, in the western part of Anatolia), participants will experience sharing, deep listening, self discovery, systemic thinking and community building and gain skills regarding those capabilities."

Excuse me? Community building? Self discovery? Deep listening experience of 20 total strangers in five days, on the "magical" mountain Ida? This sounded a bit exaggerated, especially to a person like me who can't stop for one minute in a day to hear herself. And, yet this so called "inner voice" of mine that had a powerful message. It was shouting: empty & meaningless. It's how I was feeling. It was the bell ringing for me to change the way I perceived life. "Should I answer this ad?" the voice asked No, no, no... Mountains, 20 strangers, self-discovery, deep listening, no way, not my piece of cake! Another voice cried. I was not a changemaker. I did not have entrepreneurial ideas or innovations that could multiply and change people's lives. I was just a programs specialist in a grant making foundation, the Sabanci Foundation, hanging around the real change makers, supporting their causes and standing by them. I checked the application form and forwarded the e-mail to Sabanci Foundation grantees to recommend them to apply.

The application form was a simple survey consisting of 10 questions about work history. As I was going through the questions I started to answer them in my head. Suddenly I caught myself filling out the form. Impulsively, I sent it out. I liked the idea of challenging myself in different environments and strengthen my survivor instincts. It's a side of me that I don't have a chance to recognize in my daily life.

One month later, I received an email that read: Welcome to Anatolia JAM! Now, I was scared.

Leaders who? Build community what? What did I do? "What did I get myself into?" I thought. Before I knew, I was in Mount Ida sharing my room with a stranger, getting ready to become a jamily, a community...

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Happy International Women's Day

We can’t stop at TPF.

At the end of January we rolled out a campaign focused on Empowering Turkish Girls. Wow, were we pleased to see how many of you wanted to help us educate, uplift, inspire and encourage young Turkish women to believe in and fulfill their potential.

Over 2,700 people participated in our Facebook contest that outlined three projects working to empower Turkish girls. They are projects run by Toplum Gonulluleri Vakfi, Hisar Anadolu Destek Dernegi and Cagdas Yasami Destekleme Dernegi. Tomorrow, we will announce the project that will win the TPF $10,000 grant. The announcement will be made during our town hall video chat at 1PM EST/8PM IST/10AM PST. Participants range from UN Women, Partners for a New Beginning, Egitim Reformu Girisimi to Turkish Women’s Initiative. Please join us.

But our excitement doesn’t stop there.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Turkish Philanthropy Funds (TPF) and Turkish Women’s International Network (TurkishWIN) are proud to announce a partnership that will support Turkish women and girls’ education in Turkey: the TPF-TurkishWIN Fund.

The TPF-TurkishWIN fund will allocate five percentage of TurkishWIN membership revenue annually to the TPF-run TurkishWIN Fund. What’s even better, is that we’ve made it possible for TurkishWIN members to contribute directly to the fund. TPF will match dollar-for-dollar, up to $2,300, contributions made by TurkishWIN members in the first year. Initial year grants will provide scholarship to college students from the city of Van through Cagdas Yasami Destekleme Dernegi (CYDD).

With news and activities like this – do you see why we can’t stop at TPF? And we couldn’t be more thrilled.


Team TPF

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Making Gender History This Month

President Obama agrees, “While we have made great strides toward equality, we cannot rest until our mothers, sisters, and daughters assume their rightful place as full participants in a secure, prosperous, and just society.”

As we kick off Women’s History Month today, TPF is working hard to make sure that all women realize their potential and assume rightful place as full participants in society. For the past month we’ve focused on gender equality in our Twitter and Facebook campaigns. As we look to International Women’s Day next week we plan to focus our efforts to find concrete solutions that will close the Turkish gender gap.

One of those solutions is to support a project that empowers Turkish girls. Next Thursday, March 8 we will announce the winners from our Facebook contest that had three terrific Turkish NGOs competing for a $10,000 grant for their work to advance girls’ rights in Turkey. The announcement will be made during an hour-long “town hall” video chat with leading Turks and experts on women’s issues.

The conversation will be held from 1-2PM EST/8-9PM IST/10-11AM PST.

To join, RSVP to and click on this link:

Please test your camera and mic before you enter the chat room. If you have questions, please let us know.

Warm regards,

Team TPF