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Partnerships with Trusts and Foundations

Bickerstaff Family Foundation: A steadfast supporter

Debbie Bickerstaff with Mentor Mothers

Debbie Bickerstaff with Mentor Mothers at Site B in Khayelitsha.

Most organisations can count on one hand the people who were pivotal in their growth—the steadfast partners who were there with support and enthusiasm from the beginning, with faith even during times of uncertainty. For mothers2mothers (m2m), one of those amazing people is Debbie Bickerstaff.

Debbie learned about m2m in 2004, when our work was featured in the Los Angeles Times. A Southern California resident, Debbie reached out to us immediately, saying that as a mother herself, she was moved and wanted to help. That was the beginning of what has become one of our most enduring partnerships.

Through the Bickerstaff Family Foundation, Debbie and her husband Glen generously supported m2m’s early growth and have continued to help our programme expand in scale, scope, and impact. Furthermore, during her tenure as a member of the m2m U.S. Board of Directors, Debbie’s insights, perspective, and compassion made an indelible impact on our future strategies.

m2m has achieved many milestones with the Bickerstaff Family Foundation’s support and partnership, including:

  • Establishment of m2m’s programme in Site B Community Health Centre in the township of Khayelitsha outside Cape Town, South Africa, which to this day is one of our flagship sites.
  • Opening of m2m’s programme in Malawi in 2008 by providing start-up funding. This country programme has grown to employ almost 500 frontline staff today.
  • Creation and funding of m2m’s Girls4Change project in Uganda, which is responding to the high rates of HIV infection and adolescent pregnancy in the country by increasing access to and quality of sexual and reproductive health information and services for adolescent girls.

An extraordinary woman, mother, and philanthropist…for us Debbie Bickerstaff is a true changemaker and a light in our Global Giving Circle.

Cartier Philanthropy: Creating health and economic empowerment opportunities for adolescents and women

Babalwa Mbono

m2m Spokeswoman, Babalwa Mbono, speaking at the 5th Anniversary celebrations of Cartier Philanthropy.

Since January 2017, Cartier Philanthropy has supported mothers2mothers’ (m2m) work in Uganda, equipping women with the skills to live healthy and productive lives through targeted initiatives to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (RMNCAH) and create economic empowerment opportunities.

A first award of $1.5M over three years began in January 2017. The project supported 82 Mentor Mothers as frontline health workers to provide services at seven sites in the districts of Iganga, Bugiri, Bugweri, and Namayingo in East Central Uganda. The funding also allowed us to trial strategic innovations to improve access to savings and loans, and provide dedicated adolescent support.

Here are some of the achievements which have been made possible thanks to the first phase of our partnership with Cartier Philanthropy:

  • Provision of services to almost 77,000 women and adolescents in health facilities and surrounding communities.
  • Training of 36 adolescent Peer Mentors (aged 16-24) to promote HIV counselling and testing, and the uptake of sexual and reproductive health services, to more than 8,000 adolescents and young people.
  • Training of Mentor Mothers to create and manage 46 Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) groups comprised of 843 Mentor Mothers and community participants, who saved a total of 108.2 million Uganda shillings (nearly $30,000).
Pascale de la Fregonniere

Pascale de la Fregonniere, Strategic Advisor to the Board, Cartier Philanthropy.

In January 2020, Cartier Philanthropy approved a second $1.5M award for our work in Uganda, covering a three-year period. Building on the accomplishments of the first award, this is a flexible contribution towards m2m Uganda’s overall strategic vision to ensure that all m2m target locations provide the same high-quality, integrated services, deepen m2m’s presence in our existing districts of operation, and expand our geographic footprint in Uganda. In the first year, m2m aims to reach nearly 167,000 new clients, up from 98,939 in 2018. m2m is very grateful to Cartier Philanthropy for this flexible funding.

“Cartier Philanthropy is committed to deliver maximum social impact for every dollar that we spend on poverty alleviation. m2m combines the expertise, efficient operations, rigorous monitoring, impact in maternal and child health, and the values that we look for in our partners.” – Pascale de la Frégonnière, Strategic Advisor to the Board, Cartier Philanthropy

LGT Venture Philanthropy: Growing m2m’s scale and impact

Tom Kagerer, Investment Director at LGT VP

Tom Kagerer, Investment Director at LGT VP (back row), with m2m team in Malawi.

LGT Venture Philanthropy (LGT VP) has supported mothers2mothers (m2m) since 2009. LGT VP’s financial and management support has helped m2m enter new countries, improve our technical and operational capabilities, and invest in resource mobilisation. In 2019, after a decade of partnership, LGT VP deepened its commitment with a new three-year, $3M grant. This non-programmatic funding is helping m2m to increase our scale and impact significantly. LGT VP has been a critical partner for m2m, providing extensive and flexible philanthropic and intellectual capital to support m2m’s capacity to scale our impact and reach the most vulnerable.

Here are some highlights that LGT VP’s support has made possible:


  • Improving use of business analytics and integration of m2m’s systems.
  • Establishment of a $900,000 “leverage funding” pool—designed to allow us to access large-scale grants from other donors that require cost share and diversify our donor base.
  • Strengthening and optimising a robust business development team to support expansion of m2m’s donor and revenue base. In the last five years (2014 – 2019), our total revenue and support has grown by almost 50%.
  • Seconding seven LGT Impact Fellows to Head Office and country programmes to work for one-year terms in business development, strategy development and execution, and management, enhancing our efficiency and fostering creativity and innovation in the way we work.


  • Strengthening the health system in Malawi through support to the Ministry of Health and Population’s Community Health Services Section (CHSS) to implement the first National Community Health Strategy. This includes seconding staff, mapping community cadres, co-facilitating regular events, and supporting the CHSS Country Fund.
  • Establishment of m2m’s integrated service platform in Lusaka, Zambia, by stepping in at a critical time to provide the needed co-funding.
  • Integration of early childhood development (ECD) into m2m’s model site in Nairobi, Kenya, through funding from LGT employee donations.
  • Business development support and investment for m2m’s leadership on the launch of the impact bond innovation fund (IBIF), the first social impact bond in sub-Saharan Africa. The IBIF focuses on ECD in South Africa, with the aim of improving outcomes in early childhood and possibility for replication throughout South Africa, changing the way social interventions are funded.
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