Total loan: $10,000


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Brooklyn, NY, United States / Arts

Donna's loan finished fundraising,
but these similar borrowers just need a little more help to reach their goals!

A loan helped me launch the first fully Fair Trade Store in Manhattan!

Donna's story

I was raised in a house on a dirt road in rural western North Carolina. We had 4 square rooms, no telephone, and no indoor plumbing. We were resourceful and creative, raising our own food, my mom making our clothes and teaching me how to sew, my dad and uncles running a local sawmill, and my grandpa making moonshine. As a first-generation college student, I focused on adult education and textiles as I completed directed study in Mexico and the Caribbean. My studies and then my work took me to nearly 40 countries around the globe. Meeting artisans who were living in poverty but with incredible skills was very relatable to my own background. My desire was to share these handmade treasures with folks in the US while also supporting women's cooperatives and artisan groups in the developing world. Our store is a place where you can know that the artisan was treated fairly and was well paid for their time and skill. The items represent much more than just their own beauty or functionality but also the dreams and passions of women supporting their families and providing for their children. I had the opportunity this past spring to serve on a panel during a workshop at the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women. The focus this year was "Empowerment of Rural Women and Girls." I was one of those girls growing up in a rural area and now am passionate about developing my own vision and dreams and providing that opportunity for others. Our tagline, "Because it Matters," sums up our commitment at Native Grace and why we do what we do!