Coinciding with the Millennium Development Goals UN World Summit, the Nike Foundation announced 11 global and in-country projects with key partners.

The Nike Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has been working closely with its partners to identify its countries of focus (Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Ethiopia and Zambia), and to further develop its overall giving principles announced in March 2005. Contributing to global efforts to reach the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, The Nike Foundation will place particular emphasis on reaching the goals of poverty alleviation and gender equality. Initially, the Foundation is supporting primarily non- governmental organizations and programs that provide direct services and capacity building to improve the lives and well-being of adolescent girls in the developing world.

“Through partnerships with extraordinary international organizations, we have continued to evolve our strategies and deepen our knowledge of what is needed to improve the lives of girls in the developing world as well as where the Foundation can have the greatest impact,” said Maria Eitel, President of the Nike Foundation. She added that the Foundation is in a learning phase, making initial strides to achieve two long-term goals:

  • Invest in solutions that are creative, high-impact, result in
    poverty alleviation, and empower impoverished girls by expanding
    their opportunities, capabilities and choices; and

  • Contribute to positive change in the development field through an
    innovative model of corporate philanthropy — that inspires
    heightened, highly effective corporate engagement in global

Addressing Major Challenges

The Nike Foundation has awarded over $5.2 million to organizations globally in the past fiscal year. Each of the latest Nike Foundation projects seeks to tackle one of the major challenges facing girls and women in the developing world, including inadequate health services, education access and economic opportunities.

The research is clear that improvements in education and increased opportunities for girls and women serve as a bedrock for economic growth, development and societal progress. Research conducted by the World Bank and others convincingly shows that programs directed to girls and women yield a higher rate of return than virtually any other community investment available in the developing world. Investing in girls and women's development projects results in better maternal and children's health, increased school enrollments, improved economic growth and productivity, and leads to a ripple effect that also benefits boys, families and communities.

“There are many ways to tackle the challenges of poverty. The Nike Foundation's focus on adolescent girls is sorely needed and is a point of maximum leverage in creating momentum,” said Sylvia Mathews, COO and Executive Director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Healthy, safe, empowered girls transform families, communities and countries.”

Foundation Projects

Through this series of grants, the Nike Foundation, in partnership with others, contributes to efforts around the world to:

  • Empower girls — build their capabilities and provide opportunities;
  • Engage communities — improve the influence and well-being of
    disadvantaged groups;

  • Foster advocacy — broaden awareness and shift attitudes and
    policies to benefit girls; and

  • Leverage partners — expand others' capacities to empower girls.

Specific projects include:


  • International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) — sponsoring partners
    to participate in trainings and capacity building forums.

  • Center for Global Development (CGD) — supporting advocacy efforts
    bolstering policies that support adolescent girls.

  • International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) — developing and
    sharing a measurement framework for girls' empowerment and
    conducting monitoring and evaluation of Nike Foundation supported


  • Charities Aid Foundation of America (CAFAmerica) — supporting the
    Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), one of the world's
    largest and most respected non-governmental organizations, by
    expanding programs offering educational, social and economic
    opportunities for girls in Bangladesh.

  • The World Bank — Designing and implementing a social communications
    campaign as part of a large-scale program by the Government of
    Bangladesh to mobilize communities to request community learning
    centers to increase access to education for out-of-school girls and


  • Instituto Promundo — offering innovative education activities for
    young girls and boys in Rio de Janeiro to address sexual health and

  • International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere
    Region — promoting the involvement of young women in Brazil in
    advocacy activities supporting the inclusion of sexual and
    reproductive health and rights in the Millennium Development Goals.


  • PATH — developing a pilot project to decrease the vulnerability of
    rural Chinese girls through community empowerment as part of a
    traditional education program and long-term advocacy.


  • Population Council — documenting a successful holistic program for
    vulnerable adolescent girls in Egypt.


  • United Nations Foundation/Population Council — addressing the
    prevalent issue of child marriage and its devastating impact on
    young girls in Ethiopia.


  • Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) — scaling up an innovative
    model that provides material and financial assistance to stay in
    school, as well as training and small loans to enable girls to start
    their own businesses upon completion of their education.