The Urgency of Now

July 1, 2020  • Institute Staff

Give NowAs Covid-19 spread around the world, Aspen Global Leadership Network fellows stepped up to respond. Many used their businesses, ventures, and networks to get food, medicine, and other essential supplies to communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Some fellows influenced the national public health discussion by spreading prevention awareness and combating rampant misinformation. And several fellows collaborated to address the deeply entrenched structural issues that hastened the crisis among vulnerable populations.

The John P. and Anne Welsh McNulty Foundation, in partnership with the AGLN, launched the Global Response Fund to support these fellows’ critical response efforts. Through the rapid-response fund, the foundation supported 68 fellows’ organizations and ventures, awarding more than $550,000 to fellows whose work directly helped communities in over 20 countries. For example, three fellows from the Health Innovators Fellowship collaborated to launch an opensourced repository of tools to strengthen the care of at-risk pregnant and postpartum individuals during the crisis. Fellows in the Africa Leadership Initiative—South Africa mobilized faith groups to help test and quarantine people in churches, provide food and supplies, and create safe spaces for victims of genderbased violence. Central American Leadership Initiative fellows provided tens of thousands of tests, extraction kits, and swabs across the region to combat the virus. And a fellow from Middle East Leadership Initiative ramped up a massive food bank to feed more than 8,000 people.

The AGLN was created to prepare leaders for moments like this. The program challenges fellows to awaken and apply their core values to take action on pressing problems. Through efforts like the Global Response Fund, the AGLN is accelerating their impact.