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Holly Fogle | New York, NY

Social entrepreneur. Farm girl turned New Yorker. Dog lover. Champion for the voiceless and vulnerable – including Mother Earth. Voracious reader. Mom to two teenagers. Tireless warrior for a better world.

I grew up on a farm in Appalachia where I witnessed the power of a community of women firsthand. For example, our country church needed a new roof which cost $20,000. No one had that kind of money so the women banded together and organized spaghetti dinners for two years in the church basement – and the roof was replaced. These women made an indelible imprint on how I approach the world-  with tenacity and optimism. I left Appalachia for college with the aspiration of being a Fortune 500 CEO (I have always been a dreamer!). After 13 years at McKinsey, a global consulting firm, I decided that I was more interested in solving problems that could change people’s lives vs solving problems that could change a stock price. I often say that I bring my “Appalachian-formed heart and my McKinsey-trained brain” to my current work in philanthropy.

I have always been interested in child poverty. How can a country as rich as ours have babies that don’t have shelter or food? Yet 1 in 4 babies in New York City, my home, live in poverty. To me, this is both an economic and a moral issue. Being proximate to whatever problem I am trying to solve is very important to me. I founded Nido de Esperanza (Nest of Hope) in northern Manhattan where I have spent the last 8 years working with immigrant women and their young children. At Nido, I try to really listen to what the mothers tell us they need. During COVID, we weren’t able to get the normal material goods (e.g., diapers, infant formula) to them quickly enough so we experimented with making direct cash grants. And a new idea was born: The Bridge Project.  The Bridge Project supports mothers and babies living in poverty with unrestricted cash during pregnancy and for the first 1,000 days of a child’s life. We currently have 1,150 women in our program across all five NYC boroughs, Rochester, and Buffalo. In 2024, we plan to add at least another 1,000 mothers in five other states.

My investment in The Bridge Project is my most impactful grant to date. It gives me a platform to talk about the intersection of women and trust. It allows me to extol the power of unrestricted cash for a variety of social issues. The most common questions I get are: “Don’t they need financial literacy classes? Won’t they spend the money on drugs and alcohol? Won’t these funds prevent that from working?”  The answer to all of these questions is an emphatic “NO” backed up by loads of research. These questions also highlight how much work we have in front of us in terms of amplifying a new narrative about women, money, and power.

I named my family’s foundation, The Monarch Foundation after the Monarch butterfly which is famous for its annual migration to Mexico. However, no single butterfly completes the journey. It takes 5 generations of butterflies to complete the trip-  yet each one steadily sets out to do their part. I want to do my part to end child poverty in this country. It is my life’s work.

Whenever possible, I avoid board seats, galas, naming rights, and restricted giving. Instead, I relish authentic one-on-one conversations with people trying to change their corner of the world. As a foundation, we try to live this every day with our grantees- we don’t need reports, we need honest dialogue.

Women Moving Millions has been a wonderful part of my journey. When I showed up at my first Summit in 2019, I didn’t know a single person there. I quickly found a sisterhood of women who challenged, prodded, supported, and loved me. Much like the strong women of my childhood in the church basement, these women band together to support other women and make the seemingly impossible happen. I am so grateful for their friendship on this journey.

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