The Global Fund for Women: Implications of the Patriot Act for Philanthropic Leadership

Loyola University Chicago



Case Study Sector


Soon after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush declared a national emergency and issued Executive Order No. 13224, “Blocking Property and Prohibiting Transactions with Persons Who Commit, Threaten to Commit, or Support Terrorism” (2001). The following month, Congress passed and the President signed into law the USA PATRIOT Act, “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism” (2001). Both the Executive Order and the Patriot Act prohibit financial transactions with individuals and organizations associated with terrorism.

While both the Executive Order and the Patriot Act reach far beyond the specific concerns of foundations and corporations engaged in philanthropy, they had important implications for grantmakers like the Global Fund for Women (GFW), which exclusively funds organizations outside of the U.S. This semi-fictional case supposes how the GFW Executive Director considered positioning the organization in the international community vis-à-vis the Patriot Act and its implications for international grantmaking.

This case study appears in the collection Lessons from Philanthropy: A Case Studies Approach: A Report to the Ford Foundation. The case studies are designed to increase the relevance of philanthropy teaching curriculums and better prepare future leaders that are engaged in philanthropy and nonprofit sector work. The overall goal of the present project was to develop case studies that would serve as teaching/learning tools about philanthropy by providing in-depth examination of critical issues and experiences related to foundation decision-making, governance and fund- distribution. Throughout the development of these cases, a special emphasis on philanthropic involvement in communities of color and other underserved communities was maintained in order to improve philanthropy’s work in relation to these populations.



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